Why Your Son’s Learning Style Matters

Do you remember the information you were taught in primary school? Of course, we all have a basic memory of what we learned – seeing as we can, for the most part, read, write and count. But do you remember the actual lessons that you were taught? There’s a very good chance that a big chunk of the information that you were fed as a child hasn’t stuck. If that’s the case, it usually has very little to do with your intellect and everything to do with your learning style. When you have an issue retaining information at school, your teachers often move onto the next topic or give you a few worksheets to complete in your own time. The problem with this is that schools tend to be generic about how they help people to learn, and they do not check out what your individual learning style is before embarking on their teaching. In a class of 30, not everyone is going to learn the same. 

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Every child is different. You could have three siblings raised in the exact same way and each of them will have different likes, different dislikes and very different personalities. The way that children are raised doesn’t always dictate how they learn, and it’s for this reason that you should pay very close attention to the way that yours learn. Boys and girls learn very differently for the most part, and if you are blessed with both sons and daughters you may already have recognised this. The environment that we create for our children is going to have a huge impact on how and what they learn. Understanding what motivates your child to learn is going to change the game when it comes to their schooling. If you can see that your son is struggling with the way that his teachers have chosen to teach him, you need to be his advocate. You need to be the one to speak up and assess with his teacher how to go forward from here.

Having the responsibility over your child and their education isn’t always easy, especially if you learn in a very different way to them. It’s a lot harder to encourage them to learn in the best way possible if you don’t take the time to understand how they learn. You will have noticed that your learning style may be different to your son’s, and it’s for this reason that you need to first understand what makes him tick. Personality matters when it comes to your son’s learning, and you can help him to learn to the very best of his ability, all you have to do is get to know his individual style. Whether your son learns in an auditory, kinaesthetic, tactual or visual way doesn’t matter – as long as you know which style he learns in. Finding that out can mean you are able to optimize his study time and foster success in the classroom. The question is, how you can take identify their specific style of learning so that you can capitalise on it. Education really matters, and whether your son wants to go to college or head out into the real world with his own company, you should be as supportive as possible.

Marcus, age 10 and Nathanael, age 9, share a microscope to view hair fibers in a Crime Scene Investigation workshop July 28 at The Quantico Youth Center. The boys learn how the collection of hair and fiber help a forensic scientist solve a crime.

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Considering your own way of learning while you consider your son’s is important, because you may have the same style. If you both do better with using your hands, you can teach him to be more kinaesthetic with his learning and see if that makes a difference. It’s said that boys are naturally more hands-on when it comes to their learning, whereas girls are more problem solvers, and yet you may find your son is not a physical learner but an auditory one. Generalising his learning isn’t going to help him in the long-run, and it’s going to make him switch off. Learning should be an adventure, but it’s frustrating when you’re not being heard about what works. If you can help to switch his learning so it is more easily understood, then you can watch a literal transformation in their outlook and enthusiasm at school.

You can start identifying your son’s learning style by taking notice of him. Look at how he is doing his homework and how he follows instructions. When you tell him to clean his room or tidy his clothes, is he able to listen and follow what you’re saying? Something as basic as this can really help you to understand whether he is learning in a way that you can manage. If he is falling behind at school, it may be worth having a conversation with his teachers to better understand how they deliver their lessons in the classroom. If you find that he is a visual learner, but the teaching at school is primarily auditory, then it’s going to be obvious why he isn’t catching on in the classroom.

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Companies like ej4 can help you to create visual lessons so that you can help your son to understand the lesson better at home. Visual learners often prefer to have a video to watch to explain what to do, or a list of written step-by-step instructions to follow. This is totally different from the way that kinaesthetic learners manage, as they need to be actively involved in the learning more than being dictated to.

When you’re figuring out your son’s learning, watch what he does. Set him a task and tell him to figure it out in any way that he wants to. You’ll learn very quickly what type of approach he will take and when you work out which one that is, you can adjust how you assist in after school work. You will see a marked difference in results purely by ensuring that your son is learning in a way that suits his personality and his ability to retain information. What your son brings to the classroom matters as much as what they are taught within it. Their nature can be nurtured, and the attitude that he takes to his schoolwork can be adjusted to improve his performance.

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Wherever you go online, there is a lot of information about the varying learning styles. As a parent, you are your sons most important teacher. You have to be as involved in his learning as the school teaching him is and there are so many ways that you can help your son to achieve in school. 

Developing a partnership with your son’s teachers is one of the first things you should be doing. You all have a hand in making sure that your son is a success, and that will start with meeting his teachers. Making it clear that you would like to know of any problems in the classroom early is a way to build that relationship and connection with his learning environment.  The school that your son attends is also going to have two or three parent conferences every year, and it’s important that you attend these conferences. If he is old enough, bring your son along, because hearing the feedback from his teachers means he can be in charge of his own learning and explain what he needs from his tutors to maximise his learning. The fact your son would want a say in his education is a good thing, and if you can work together you can get the best out of him.

Supporting your child academically is vital. You need to be checking their homework and ensuring that they have every tool that they need to complete their homework properly. If necessary, getting a tutor in for your child is the best thing to do, and you can work closely with them at home to assess what your child needs to succeed. You can’t hope to help your son get the results that he needs for the career he wants to be involved in if you don’t work with his own unique way of doing things. Embracing the way that your child learns is going to mean you can work together to get through the frustrating and hard school years. School can be a lot less agonising if you are encouraging him to achieve the best he can in a way that he can.

How does your son learn best?

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The Building Boys Bulletin

The Building Boys Bulletin Newsletter gives you the facts, encouragement, and inspiration you need to help boys thrive. Written by Jennifer L.W. Fink, mom of four sons and author of Building Boys: Raising Great Guys in a World That Misunderstands Males, Building Boys Bulletin includes:

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“I learned a lot about helping boys thrive over the past 20+ years — most of it the hard way! I’m eager to share what I’ve learned to make your path a little easier.”   – Jennifer

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