What’s one of the easiest ways for your child to tackle new tasks or ideas? By using his natural learning strengths. You can find creative ways to help him learn at home and in school by understanding what those learning strengths are.
What are learning strengths?
Kids don’t approach every new learning task in exactly the same way. But how your child interacts with information probably does fall into patterns that let him draw on his natural talents and preferences. Those patterns are learning strengths, and they are the pathways to learning.
“Learning strengths combine your child’s talents and abilities with his existing skills and knowledge to help him take in new information.”
Learning strengths combine your child’s talents and abilities with his existing skills and knowledge to help him take in new information. Talents and abilities are ways of thinking, feeling or acting that can be used productively. For instance, your child may naturally understand how other people are feeling. Or know how something works just by taking it apart.
There are many different types of learning strengths. For example, some kids are drawn to words, while some are good with their bodies and movement. Other common pathways include learning by listening to information, by finding patterns, and by working with other people. Many people learn best through combinations of these areas of strengths.
Thinking styles play a part.
People have differing levels of natural ability in different areas. Your child’s set of abilities help make up his unique “intelligence fingerprint.” But it’s not the only factor. Another component is his thinking style. That’s the way he processes the information he takes in.
Perhaps your child is a reflective thinker. If so, he probably needs time to consider all the aspects of an idea before it makes sense to him. Or maybe he’s a global thinker. In that case he’s more likely to have sudden “aha!” moments when everything makes sense all at once.
How does your child learn?
Talent, ability, skill, knowledge and thinking style. Looking at them together can help you understand how your child engages with information. In other words, how he naturally learns.
Take learning to tie shoes, for example. If your child has a talent for thinking in pictures, he may have learned to tie his shoes by watching you do it. If he has a talent for taking things apart and putting them back together, he may have learned by doing it over and over. And whichever it is, it’s likely he learned to do other things the same way, too.
The idea that different kids learn best in different ways isn’t new. You may have heard it called other things, such as “multiple intelligences” or “learning styles.” Recently researchers have questioned these older concepts, and whether kids learn better at school when teachers focus on specific “learning styles.”
Regardless of how those theories are used today, the basic idea behind them is simple. Many kids prefer learning in very specific ways. And that’s fine: There’s no one all-purpose pathway to learning that’s “right”—or that determines how well a child will do in life.
Knowing your child’s learning strengths is useful when you’re exploring ways to help him learn new information. It can help you find the best studying options for him. And you can use his strengths to help him improve whatever other skills he’s working on, too.