Early in my teaching career I went to a conference that presented a session on learning styles. The information made so much sense to me that I started to formally share it with parents. It also helped me understand certain dynamics at play between my husband and myself, opening up a whole new world on behavior and relationships.
Very simply, a visual person learns best by looking at images and is also one who has an excellent grasp of spatial understanding. An auditory person prefers sound as a way to learn, and can more easily remember what has been said. A kinesthetic person learns via the body, especially using/creating with the hands.
One of the ways that this information hit home at my parent meetings was when I asked how they preferred to get/give driving directions. I would inquire if they liked to look at a map (visual), have written directions that they could read aloud (auditory), or if they needed to draw or write out the directions (kinesthetic). As we dove further into the discussion, a smile of understanding never failed to light up each face.
We are a mixture of the styles, with one being more dominant. A giveaway of our primary style is that we use it in our language. Visuals say: “Do you see what I mean?” Auditories say: “Do you hear what I’m telling you?” Kinesthetics say: “Do you get/feel what I’m trying to say?” The words that come out of our mouths are very telling, indeed!
I shared this information with parents because I wanted them to understand that their children (like themselves and their spouses) had their own styles, and that the more they became aware of this, the better their communication with each other could be. In fact, I found it to be extremely helpful in my relationship with my husband.
My husband is very visual and I am, let’s just say, NOT! Early in our relationship he would become quite frustrated when he tried to describe something that he was planning to build (as in moving things around in space), and I couldn’t “see” it. Over time it made me feel like something was wrong with me and there were hurt feelings.
That teaching conference, however, changed everything. I came home armed with a new understanding of SELF – and solutions! Discussing the styles with my husband set us on a new course. And the easy fix for the spatial issues was to ask him to draw me pictures. How simple and pivotal that turned out to be!
So much goes into making each of us tick. As every new “aha” gets added to the puzzle of us, we need to keep up the search for more. More pieces mean more awareness, and our job is to keep figuring out how it all fits together!