Parenting, Watching, Talking & Doing: Do Children Have Their Own Learning Style?
By Donovan Grant
Teaching children is very difficult. With a class of 30 children, it can be even more difficult. It’s not just the number of students; it’s the fact that children don’t all have the same learning preferences.
If you have more than one child, think back for a moment to when they were growing up… did they play with their toys in different ways? Did they each enjoy playing with a specific type of toy? I know that my three children had tons of differences in the way they played. This probably explains the squabbles they had when playing too!
Just think for a moment of one of your own fine teachers trying to teach a class of 30 children. We all know that a teacher’s #1 desire is to ensure that every student is learning something. The sad thing is that this does not always happen.
Well let’s face it, some children like to listen, some like to watch and some like doing! Wow, when you have so many different types of learner in front of you it’s got to be hard to keep everyone focused.
Do you know the preferred learning style of your children? Not every parent does.
Trying to find your way through the heaps of advice about how to parent your child can be daunting on the best of days. Sometimes our children suffer and end up lost in many of the ‘new’ ideas and beliefs in learning.
Just imagine if your child has any sort of behaviour that is thought to be outside of the "norm". What would that do to their studies? Well for many children, life would take on new meaning. They’d be given labels that shout out loud ‘learning difficulties!’
On one end of the spectrum you have quiet, shy and reserved and at the other end you get ADHD, ADD and Dyslexia to name a few.
Could it be that we need to stop and say one size teaching does not fit all? Could it be that it’s time to sit down with Sally or Steve and take the time to figure out how they learn best?
The American author and activist Helen Keller was born in 1880 and she was blind and deaf. Bio accounts of her as a young girl told us how she taught herself how to communicate with others but she was frustrated at her limitations and this lead to behavioural problems.
Helen was fortunate to have a personal teacher Anne Sullivan and she quickly learned how to finger spell words. A couple of the first words Helen could finger spell were W-A-T-E-R and M-U-G. The only concern is that she didn’t know what they were. Then one day they were walking by the well house and Anne placed Helen’s hand under the water coming from the pump and spelled W-A-T-E-R. Suddenly Helen got it! The cool liquid coming from the pump had a name. Everything has a name.
Now consider our children who struggle to learn today in a class of 30 students. What if they were taught by connect things that they don’t know to something they already know? Just imagine them having one of those “oh, I get it!” It could change their whole perspective on life.
Can we take a stand and give new meaning to how children learn? Let’s say that every child has the capacity to learn; even the ones with so called learning difficulties.
Watching a son or daughter struggle with learning challenges is painful for any parent. It will take time, it will take energy and it will take financial resources to help a child to learn. The learning for us is that we can’t just leave it to the teachers to teach our children. We have to teach them at home too.
If we can remember to love our child and to hold onto the belief that that every child has the capacity to learn, then it’s possible. We can help to turn the learning difficulties into learning opportunities.
Let’s be our child's strongest advocate and remember the words of Winston Churchil “never, never, never give up!"
P.s. The topic of this post is likely to generate some strong feelings. For those who are teachers or teaching assistants this may border on heresy. My vision is that recognising some students are struggling to learn is not a bad thing, but rather that it is important to think about how it impacts children to be labelled with "learning difficulties" and what we as parents can do to help draw out their hidden talents.
What do you think? I look forward to your thoughts and discussion. Please leave your comments in the box below.
Donovan Grant is a coach, mentor, blogger, speaker and IT professional who brings his wisdom of parenting for the last 21 years and coaching clients through the stages of raising youth and empowering leaders with life lessons that are changing generations. He is a passionate and committed leader who believes that we all have the ability to help to change someone else’s life. Actively doing so as a catalyst for many years he teaches how to live a life of success, balance, integrity and fun, whether at work or at play. www.donovangrant.com