In Part 1, we explored the auditory learning style, and now we’ll pick up with the kinesthetic and visual learner.
Appealing to Kinesthetic Learners
Have you ever accused your kid of having “ants in your pants,” or do you often find him fidgeting or doodling? You probably have a kinesthetic learner on your hands. The word “kinesthetic” refers to movement, and people with this learning style actually learn best when they’re moving. The movement can be related or unrelated to the information, but being still could actually keep the information from sinking in.
For the classroom, you may want to consider providing “Tangles” or other small fidget toys and reserving one page of each notebook spread for doodles unrelated to class.
On the home front, you’ll want to gesture and touch your teen as you communicate something significant. If it’s a physical job you want done, go through the motions of the task and then ask your teen to show you what needs to be done. During lengthy or intense conversations, make sure a fidget toy is available. Remember that derogatory gestures and touches will be especially hurtful, but loving ones will really help you connect.
Appealing to Visual Learners
For visual learners, presentation can sometimes be prized over content. In recalling facts for a test, the visual learner’s memory can be tied to the place on a page or color of highlighting. Lectures without any related visuals can be easily ignored, especially if there are unrelated visually interesting items or people in the room. A visual learner might remember what the teacher wore but nothing about what the lecture was.
On the home front, this can mean that your appearance and your home’s appearance might be more important to your teen than it is to you. Writing a reminder note might be helpful, as well as keeping a family calendar and chore list in a visual spot. Facial expressions can be used to reinforce or negate your words, so watch those non-verbal cues. Written expression of appreciation and love will be a great way to connect to your visual teen.
Aiding in Metacognition
Once you’ve determined your teen’s learning style and have begun to accommodate it, you’ll probably start to notice some more effective learning and communicating going on. Now is the time to mention your findings to your teen. You might start by asking if they’ve noticed your efforts, and if they thought your recent efforts made a difference.
Then you could explain why you made the changes you did, but make sure you don’t make your teen feel as if he needs accommodations because he’s inferior, but because everyone has a primary learning style. By helping your teen understand his own learning style and what helps him communicate with others, you’ll be setting him up for greater success in many areas of life, from relationships to education and career.