Deccan Herald: Understanding your child’s learning style

9 March 2012

Dear Chetana,

My eight-year-old daughter is interested in non-academic fields like dancing, singing, playing, drawing but she is not showing any interest in studies.

Her school report says that she can improve. She is willing to draw for one or two hours with more concentration and interest than study. Are there some teaching methodologies that can make her interested?


Dear Chetana,

My daughter has some difficulty in reading and writing. She is 10-years-old. Assessments show normal IQ but they have been unable to specify what exactly her disability is. She is otherwise a very intelligent, active, talented and affectionate child. I would be grateful if you could help us know how to go about teaching her.


Dear parents,
Teaching methodologies if aligned with the child’s learning styles is the shortest path to gain interest and maximise your child’s learning. The table shown will help you find your child’s learning style.

Teaching methodologies

  • Visual Learners: Use visual displays including diagrams, illustrated text books, overhead transparencies, videos, flipcharts and hand-outs. Teach and encourage note taking to absorb the information during a lecture or classroom discussion. Make lists to remember what has to be done. Visual stimuli distract the child so keep the learning spaces as clutter free as possible. Allowing the child to break up the lesson, draw diagrams, concept maps, mind maps, highlight, colour code, underline facts etc will help memorise the information.Break up difficult words into syllables, colour code them and write them on flashcards to learn them. Teach flowcharting, using posters, charts, atlases etc to present information visually in the child’s room to make all study material as visual as possible. Use charts and flashcards liberally to teach tables, formulae, etc.
  • Auditory Learners: Maximise the use of verbal lectures, discussions and talking things through. Use a tape recorder to convert written information to aural. Convert English lessons to plays and answers to dialogues. Encourage the child to vocalise steps to a math problem, science experiments, flow chart, summarise etc. Teach the child phonic and spelling rules to master difficult words. Keep the child’s learning environment as calm as possible to avoid distraction from TV, neighbours, family discussions etc. If this is not possible then provide earplugs or play some light instrumental music to soothe her.  Allow the child to sound out her ideas, questions etc. This helps the child to memorise by repeating out aloud. Use music, chants, poetry, dialogues to learn tables and content material in various subjects.
  • Tactile and / Kinaesthetic learners: Create opportunities for the child to have a hands-on approach, actively exploring the physical world around them to learn new information. Allow frequent study breaks short walks, play at the play-gym, cycling etc to expend pent up physical energy. Moving around while learning new things like swinging, moulding clay, using a stress ball etc, and working in a standing position also helps these children. Study techniques like using bright colours to highlight reading material, skimming through reading material to get a rough idea before settling down to read it in detail, dressing up study areas with posters, taking things apart and putting them together for science concepts, constructing the lesson concepts from known to unknown.
  • Tactile methods like using block letters, sand/rough paper textured flashcards where the child traces with finger as he reads, Kinaesthetic methods like using musical chants etc with dance movements, clapping, tapping on the desks etc. can help learn spellings, multiplication tables, formulae etc. Math and Science should be taught to the child with real life objects and experiments.

Please remember that few children may fall into more than one category. Parental involvement with patience and encouragement is absolutely essential to effectively apply the above.