One of the most interesting things about learning styles is that each has unique personality traits as well. Visual learners, for instance, are observers. Because they are watching people’s actions and events unfold before they commit, they are often perceived as shy, perhaps even snooty, and cautious.
Visual learners don’t generally talk a great deal (until they are really comfortable with you), and because they don’t easily learn by hearing, they aren’t particularly good listeners. As a parent you may need to be more persistent in order to get them to tell you what’s going on in their lives. You’ll need to ask more questions with more follow-up. Visual learners are more likely to open up one-on-one than in groups. Lists work really well because visual learners like order and reading. They like systems and flash cards and color coding.
Auditory learners love to talk and will naturally dominate conversations if allowed. When others are speaking, auditory learners are like horses chomping at the bit, and will often interrupt in order to say what they want to say. It’s usually easy to get them talking, but not so easy to get them to stop. Auditory learners are generally not aware when they are humming, reading aloud, orally working through the steps of a math problem. A tape recorder (do such things exist?) would be an indispensable tool for an auditory learner. They could record chapters and spoken notes as they read aloud and then play them back later to study. With permission from their teachers, they possibly could tape lectures.
Tactile learners are often “written off” as having ADHD because of their inherent need for movement. Our pediatrician can help you determine if this is a correct diagnosis, but simply giving tactile learns non-disruptive tools to work with will be hugely beneficial. Chewing gum, working a stress ball, doodling, fingering worry stones all give the tactile learner something to do while studying – without distracting others. Tactile learners can be disorganized, although they usually can find things somewhere in the myriad piles around their rooms. They are quick-tempered and passionate and always outgoing.
Again, the challenges of these personalities at home or in a classroom are obvious and may seem daunting. But understanding how they learn and interact is the first step in establishing good communication and relationships.