As your child moves through her scholastic experience, chances are her favorite class will vary from year to year depending on changing interests. However, depending on her learning style, certain aspects of each class may always appeal to her. If you have a kinesthetic learner, gym class may jump start his engine each day. Your visual learner will favor any class that uses lots of pictures, videos and objects. Your auditory learner will like reading and algebra because she’s comfortable with words and logical processes to reach her answer. But if you gave an entire elementary class their choice of subject to study, the majority would choose art. If you were to ask them why they chose it, they would probably just tell you it’s fun. But art as a subject does so much more for these students than they’ll ever know.
Art appeals to and benefits all learners. Despite the learning preference of the child, art utilizes their unique learning styles in ways most subjects can’t. Through art, children better learn and retain information because it’s a visual, tactile and auditory experience. This multi-sensory learning processing allows them to relate, or layer, what they’re learning to past experiences.
Visual learners, which some sources say make up to 80% of all students, learn best by looking at images. Visual learners are “big picture” people who think conceptually and are less detail-oriented. In art, the visual learner is excited to participate in a visual, tactile medium as opposed to sitting in class listening to lecture after lecture. Art class uses the visual child’s preferred learning style, so she is both comfortable and challenged, making the lesson relatable while having fun.
The kinesthetic learner, who needs to “do” to learn, will benefit from the art classroom in a way that few other classrooms can offer. For the kinesthetic, or tactile learner, it’s all about using their strongest skill – hand-eye coordination. This means projects, role play, experiments, or the continual movement of creating art. For example, the tactile learner could be told step-by-step directions detailing how to make a paper airplane, but only when she’s actually touching the paper, creating the airplane herself, does she truly understand and retain the information. Learning is reinforced by being exposed to the information in an auditory or visual way and then physically experiencing the information.
The auditory learner is a linear, logical, orderly thinker that appreciates words. This student does well in a typical classroom where most information is presented verbally in a linear and rational order. The art classroom, while intimidating at first, may turn out to be a benefit for this type of learner. The auditory learner is used to logical thinking that leads to one right answer, but the art classroom lets the linear thinker see and experience that there is more than one possible and correct outcome to the same problem. A skill critical to all learners!
While all subjects are taught using at least one primary method of learning, art is the only subject that uses visual and auditory processing skills simultaneously, which is why it appeals to each type of learner. When students are familiar with subject matter that’s presented in a way they can easily absorb, staying engaged comes naturally. This is what makes art a subject that both delights and inspires the young learner, and opens their eyes, ears, and lips to endless possibilities. It’s what makes art so much fun.