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Students Learning Styles and the Link to Academic Performance

written by: Natasha Stiller • edited by: Patricia Gable • updated: 2/8/2012

It is essential to provide students with a variety of learning experiences that will shape their academic performance. Do you know your child's learning styles? Teachers can provide experiences in the classroom specifically for the varied learning styles. Read on...

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    Learning Styles

    Every teacher and every parent hopes that their students will succeed in school. Teachers and parents have the same final goals and objectives to promote and ensure that these children are enabled to perform academically. Most parents can name their child’s learning style, and by the first school quarter, teachers should be able to do the same. By providing students experiences with the knowledge of their learning style and adapting lessons to their individual learning style, ensures that students have an upper hand in performing well in school.

    There are three main types of learning styles: Visual learners, auditory learners and kinesthetic learners. Visual learners are adept at seeing charts, graphs, or any visual medium and able to start to apply this information to their studies and projects. Auditory learners can listen and process this information, remembering it well, and use the information in their studies. Kinesthetic learners can still learn through visual guides and listening, but learn best when they are able to apply it with a project, or do something with the information.

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    Mix it Up!

    It is essential to have a variety of opportunities in the classroom where students learn to use all of these learning types, but all students have one main style that they veer towards and that fits the way they like to learn.

    When students are provided learning experiences that tie well to their learning style, their performance does change. They are able to explore learning with more confidence, and apply information easily. Because they are able to apply information more easily, they have a higher success rate.

    From my own personal experience in school, I struggled quite a bit in history or math, subjects that did not provide me with enough hands-on experiences that I needed as a kinesthetic learner. I had to try to find manipulatives or create diagrams or participate in experiments that really allowed me to absorb the information with a hands-on demonstration. Once I took this initiative, I performed well. The same was true with English studies where memorization was needed. I had to write out the words with the definitions on index cards. The physical action allowed me to have a great study tool, but enforced my learning style by giving me something to do. Once I learned this about myself and understood how to work with it, I thrived.

    Visual learners might not thrive in environments where there is only lecture, but need a visual presentation along-side the lecture to really stay engaged. An auditory learner, might choose to doodle while listening to a lecture, since they can still actively listen. A kinesthetic learner might choose to take notes while the lecture is being given so that they have multiple experiences with the information. Information becomes more tangible to learners when information is presented in ways that appeal to their learning styles.

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    See them Flourish

    In the classroom, it is important to have a variety of experiences that will allow students to perform well. It doesn’t take much observation of a student to determine what their learning style is.

    By understanding what students learning styles are, we can also provide multiple ways of explaining a lesson or subject that will appeal to all students, to ensure that all students can grasp the information, apply it. It is important to note that students do not choose their learning style. It is something ingrained in them, the way that their synapses connect in their brains that help them explore information. It is beneficial to students academic performance to work alongside of their learning style, and it will make learning more fun for them.