I'm going to preface today’s article with a confession, this…
Recently I was teaching a teenaged singing student who came into class excited to share the things she’d been taught that day in school. What she’d been learning was the basics of neuroscience or how the brain worked. Indeed- she had some fascinating things to share and it lead me to ask her ‘Do you know what your learning style is?’
I then went on to explain the principals of Fleming’s (2001) Visual, Auditory, Kinesthetic (VAK) learning model and asked her to pay attention throughout the lesson to see if she could investigate the way in which she was interpreting my direction and which directions worked best for her. Did she need to hear an example of the sound to get the desired result? Did she need to feel where it sat in her body? Was it easier if I gave her a mental image so she could visualise the concept?
It’s incredibly important for anyone– especially those in the creative fields were skills need to be honed to an exact art- to make the time to figure out their learning process. In fact doing so will save you time in the long run.
Let me give you an example of the elements within each learning style. Maybe you can pick which one you most dominantly display?
- Tend to learn best through seeing information. They mostly think in pictures and lean toward using mental images in order to retain information.
- This learning style benefits most from looking at pictures, maps, videos and movies.
- People with this learning style thrive at such things as puzzles, reading, writing, graphs, reading maps, painting, creating and interpreting visual metaphors and analogies; fixing and designing.
- Tend to learn best through listening and are most suited toward the traditional form of teaching i.e. the teacher out the front of class telling students information. They have highly developed auditory skills and are generally good speakers and presenters.
- They thrive through learning delivered via lectures and discussions and their skills are particularly in speaking, listening, explaining, teaching, meaning of words and remembering information.
- Learn best through moving, doing and touching.
- They express themselves best through movement, have good hand-eye coordination, remember and process information through interacting with the space around them. They often find it difficult to stand still for an extended period of time and become easy distracted by the need for activity.
- This learning style is shown via physically coordination, use of body language, crafts, dance, and athletic ability. Using hands to build things and expressing emotion through the body.
So there you go- did you manage to pin point which style best describes your learning tendencies?
While traditionally individuals are encouraged to tailor learning toward their own style, I do wonder if the emphasis should also be in strengthening the ‘weaker’ styles?
And I do believe it’s possible.
I was initially not a very good auditory learner; to this day I still find it difficult to remember what people verbally explain to me, however I do retain information better if I see it in video and better still if I am given a chance to ‘do’ whatever it is I’m trying to learn. For someone who wanted to be a singer this situation was far from ideal, so at twenty years old I decided to take up piano lessons along side my singing. Though in time I learnt that by ‘feeling’ the sound in my body i.e sensing resonation and playing with physical placement, I could easier know if I was pitching properly; it was also through slow, pain-staking ear training my auditory skills improved.
These days I can mimic a sound/ accent relatively easily, repeat a melody after only hearing it once as well as pick-up minuet tonal qualities for which my students need to improve.
I guess what I’m trying to say is once you can identify your learning style, the next step is to utilize it whenever possible to assist your learning but go beyond that, develop strength within your lesser learning styles so as not to limit your learning and creating potential.
Hope you enjoyed today’s post. I love reading and responding to everyone’s comments, so feel free to leave a comment of your own.
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image source: U.S National Archives