Every child is unique, not just in physical features or individual aspects of his or her personality, but also in their learning style and intelligence. As far back as 334 BC, Aristotle recognised that ‘each child possessed specific talents and skills’. In order to give your child the best shot at success, he/she needs to be in a learning environment that recognises and adapts to his/her individual learning style.
When children receive instruction in the mode and method that works best for them, they are more likely to retain the information and apply it in real-world settings. In addition, learning according to their own personal style makes the process fun.
At One World International School, we recognise the vital role that learning styles play in the classroom, and we cater to different learning styles and multiple intelligences.
What is Learning and What are Some of the Known Learning Styles?
The act of learning is more than memorising facts and reiterating definitions to a teacher or instructor. Learning takes place when your child grasps a subject thoroughly and can apply the concepts from that subject in their own life. Your child has learned a concept if he/she can make sense of it and explain it to you through their own words and actions.
It’s important for educators to be aware of the learning styles that are present in the classroom and for them to cater to different types of learners. Teachers often differentiate their instruction in order to accommodate the different learning styles in their classroom by utilising a multi-sensory approach. This allows all children in the classroom to receive the information in the lesson in multiple ways, and therefore, gives them more opportunities to retain the content.
These are seven well-known types of learners:
- Visual Learners
- Aural Learners
- Logical Learners
- Solitary Learners
- Verbal Learners
- Social Learners
- Physical Learners
You will want to take time to observe your child while they are both working on school assignments and playing. Through observation, you can note your child’s personal strengths and interests. You can also discover more about what tools they use to learn — and what tools they do not use. Your child’s teacher will be observing them as well, and together, you can work to provide an experience that accommodates their learning style. It is important to remember, however, that children can change and adapt over time. While they may be a specific type of learner at this stage of their life, that may change as your child grows and develops.
Howard Gardner’s Multiple Intelligences
These are the eight types of intelligence identified by Howard Gardner:
- Linguistic Intelligence — If your child has linguistic intelligence, they will quickly grasp the concepts of words and languages. This intelligence type excels in reading and writing, and can often be heard telling stories.
- Logical-Mathematical Intelligence — If your child leans more toward logical-mathematical intelligence, they will do well with critical thinking. They are able to use logic, numbers and abstractions to reach conclusions.
- Spatial Intelligence — If your child has spatial intelligence, they will excel when presented with spatial images. They can recognise large-scale as well as fine-grain spatial images, and manipulate them accordingly.
- Bodily-Kinesthetic Intelligence — If your child has bodily-kinesthetic intelligence, they will retain information better when they are moving and using their bodies. People with this type of intelligence excel in sports and dance and are often creative individuals who enjoy making things.
- Musical Intelligence — If your child has musical intelligence, they will be susceptible to sounds, tones and rhythms. They may excel when playing a musical instrument or singing a song.
- Interpersonal Intelligence — If your child has interpersonal intelligence, they will have a natural understanding of the motives and desires of those around them. They will work well with others in a group setting.
- Intrapersonal Intelligence — If your child has intrapersonal intelligence, they will have a good understanding of themselves and understand their own motives, desires and intentions. They can reflect on their work and set goals for themselves.
- Naturalistic Intelligence — If your child has naturalistic intelligence, they will be able to recognise creatures and plants in the natural world easily. They are often passionate about the natural sciences and enjoy working outdoors.
Strategies to Cater to Different Learning Styles
At OWIS, our teachers actively work to identify the learning styles and intelligence of the students in their classroom. They employ strategies to cater to different learning styles. These can include:
- Reading aloud all written instructions in order to keep aural learners and musical intelligences engaged.
- Encouraging movement breaks throughout the course of the day to allow kinetic learners to retain the information they are learning.
- Allowing visual learners to create mind maps to sketch out their ideas before they begin their work.
- Incorporating organised and systematic ways of doing things to appeal to logical students.
- Providing opportunities for group collaborations and presentations to give social learners a chance to connect with their peers while working on their coursework.
- Designing quiet areas that include multiple tools and resources so that solitary learners have the space they need to learn.
Benefits of Catering to Different Learning Styles
There are many benefits associated with catering to different learning styles and multiple intelligences in the classroom setting. Our teachers believe that your child will have a better learning experience when they have multiple ways to access the content in the classroom. Also, by adjusting each lesson to meet the needs of the individual, every student in the classroom will be more engaged. It becomes a more effective learning environment for everyone.
By catering to multiple learning styles, we appeal to all types of learners. Our innovative curriculum supports open-ended learning, and students have plenty of opportunities for creative expression. There are no pre-defined outputs at the start of a lesson, which allows students to find a process that works for them and select their own learning experience. Your child will benefit from our inquiry-led, IB PYP framework because it puts your child at the centre of the learning process.