Traditional classrooms favored students who could sit still, listen quietly and learn from lectures. Today’s classrooms are far more dynamic as teachers use current brain research that demonstrates there are a variety of learning styles within each classroom. Each student is unique. Besides learning style, students also bring their own family culture, belief system and life experiences to school with them. If your child should be succeeding in school and is not, it may be that their learning style is not being addressed.
What is your child’s learning style?
Does your child learn best by hearing someone talk, by getting their hands on something or do they recall information better after turning it into a song? It is difficult to know if your child’s learning style is being taken into account if you don’t know what it is. There are many online learning style quizzes that can help you better understand the way your child learns best. Many schools also have learning style assessments available for the asking. Once you know your child’s learning style, you can meet with the teacher and observe the classroom to see if your child’s needs are being met.
Meet with the teacher
Teachers a trained to provide the best education methods and materials, to ensure that their students succeed. This does not, however, mean that they always successful. Limitations set by school boards, school administrators and other outside factors can interfere with the individualized lesson plans and instruction needed by a globally diverse group of learners. Schedule to meet with your child’s teacher to discuss your concerns. There may be other factors involved with your child’s difficulty that you are unaware of, such as bullying or test anxiety. Talking with your child’s teacher can help you both work together to help your child and it may inspire new ideas for the teacher that will help other students with similar learning styles.
Observe the class in action
Talking with the teacher may not be enough. By observing the class in action, you may be able to see what your child needs and is not getting. It may also provide you with a better perspective on how the class is managed and the way lessons are presented. Today’s classroom uses small group instruction, computers, peer tutoring and many other methods to ensure that everyone is learning and benefiting from time spent at school. When observing a class, there are a few basic courtesies that should be followed:
• Offer help, but do not interfere
• Sit quietly and out of the way
• Do not bring food or drink
• Set a good example of how courteous adults behave in public
Talk with your child
After learning more about your child’s learning style, talking with the teacher and observing the class, take the time to talk candidly and positively with your child. In a perfect world, every lesson would suit every learner, but this is neither realistic nor possible. Help your child develop a set of their own learning tools. Your involvement teaches them that they are important to you, that their learning is valuable and that they can overcome obstacles.
Learning styles are just one tool for better learning. Good study habits, parental encouragement and value placed on education combine to help your child be successful.