Every child is unique and so is their approach to learning. For parents, educators or caregivers, understanding a child's learning styles can empower you to support their education, growth and development. Research suggests that the genesis of a child’s learning styles emanates from early influences at home, in their community, and, if relevant, during early education.
In this blog post, we delve into factors that influence children's learning styles, offering insights to help you better support your child's education and growth.
Understanding children's learning styles
Learning styles refer to the preferred ways children absorb, process, comprehend and retain information. There are several types of learning styles, but the most commonly recognised are visual (learning through seeing), auditory (learning through hearing), tactile (learning through touching) and kinesthetic (learning through doing or moving).
- Visual learners — These children learn best when they can see or read the information. They benefit from diagrams, charts, pictures, films and written directions. They tend to think in images and can easily visualise objects, plans and outcomes in their mind's eye.
- Auditory learners — These children learn best when information is heard or spoken. They benefit from lectures, group discussions, radio, voice mail, using mobile phones and talking things through. They interpret the underlying meanings of speech by listening to tone of voice, pitch, speed and other nuances.
- Tactile learners — This type of learning style is through touch and movement. Children inclined to it will appreciate hands-on activities and often excel in tasks that involve manipulating materials and building or crafting projects. Tactile learners might also strongly prefer drawing, doodling or even note-taking to help cement their understanding.
- Kinesthetic learners — Similar to tactile learners, these children learn best through a hands-on approach, actively exploring the physical world around them. Given their need for activity and exploration, they benefit best from demonstrations, experiments, field trips and role-play.
The role of families in shaping children's learning styles
In the grand tapestry of a child's development, families — particularly parents — weave the first threads. In fact, the type of parenting practised in the home has been shown to greatly influence a child’s learning style.
Here are several primary parenting styles as well as ways of labelling parenting styles. While we don’t advocate for ‘self-labelling’ (we are much more dynamic than a label), these broad categories can help in the initial phases of bringing awareness::
- Permissive parents — These are parents who allow their children a great deal of freedom, fostering a more kinesthetic or tactile learning style. For example, a child in such a family might be encouraged to build a model volcano for a science project, learning through hands-on exploration and discovery.
- Authoritative parents — These are those who manage to neutralise freedom with clear expectations and can nurture a balanced learning style. For instance, they might read a book with their child (visual learning), discuss the story (auditory learning) and then engage the child in a related craft project (kinesthetic/tactile learning). This balanced approach can encourage children to feel comfortable with varying learning styles, depending on how it looks in practice.
- Authoritarian parents — These parents often create a highly structured learning environment for their children. For instance, they might enforce quiet study times, during which children are expected to read or listen to educational materials. This environment encourages a focus on absorbing information through visual or auditory means.
Parental self-efficacy and its impact on children's learning
Just as a teacher's confidence can influence their effectiveness in the classroom, a parent's belief in their ability to support their child's learning — known as parental self-efficacy — can considerably impact their learning journey.
Several studies show that parental self-efficacy also plays a role in shaping children's learning styles. Parents with high self-efficacy are more likely to engage in positive parenting behaviours, such as being responsive to their children's needs, creating a cognitively stimulating home environment and using effective discipline strategies. These behaviours can foster a supportive learning atmosphere that allows children to explore different types of learning styles and find the one that suits them best.
On the other hand, parents who recognise their challenges in self-efficacy have the opportunity to grow and learn new ways to support their children effectively. By seeking resources and connecting with supportive communities, they can build confidence in their parenting abilities. The initiative towards stronger self-efficacy is one filled with potential and empowerment, where both parent and child can benefit.
Final thoughts — the importance of parental involvement in children's learning
As we've explored the influence of parenting styles and parental self-efficacy on children's learning styles, it's clear that parents play a pivotal role in their child's growth. However, beyond these influences, there's another critical aspect of this journey — active parental involvement. This goes beyond understanding your child's learning style or believing in your ability to support them. It's about mindfully participating in your child's development and showing them their education is valued.
Moreover, parental involvement allows for the reinforcement of learning at home. Concepts taught at school can be further explored and solidified through discussions, activities or homework assistance. This reinforcement not only aids in retaining information but also allows children to see the practical application of what they learn in school.
Boost your child's learning with Being Early Education
Children are constantly learning. Though our team of extraordinary educators here at Being endeavours to provide a wide variety of education experiences, the child's self-led interaction with their own learning reinforces their understanding of new information and its practical implications in their life. This can happen anywhere! Even just including your child in your daily activities, from discussing the ingredients in their dinner to exploring flowers in the park, can exponentially expand their educational experiences, with no classroom needed.
We understand that each child is unique — not an empty vessel but a powerful participant in their learning journey. Our approach, rooted in care, innovative pedagogy and love, respects this individuality and encourages children to pursue their interests and build upon ideas at their own pace.
Discover the Being difference by booking a tour of our locations in Pymble, Lake Haven, Busby and Ermington (River Road and Lambert Avenue). Let's work together to nurture your child's unique learning style. Reach out to us today to learn more.