While the left and right side of our brain represent auditory and visual learning styles, there is one more learner that needs to be recognized. Kinesthetic learners, also known as tactile learners, represent those children that need to touch, see and move when they learn. Traditional classrooms, driven by lecture and large class sizes can be especially challenging for these learners. When we understand their need to be physically engaged, we can make adjustments to better accommodate these learners. Click HERE to take our quiz and find out if your child is a Kinesthetic learner!
As parents, we have a vested interest in understanding the nuances of left and right-brain thinking. A child’s ability to learn is directly affected by the way their brain sees and processes information. Knowing if your child is an auditory, visual or kinesthetic learner will enable you to choose activities that support their learning needs, while working to develop their weaker areas. Click HERE to take our quiz and find out if your child is a VISUAL learner!
There has been much written about the hemispheres of our brain and the way they define our thinking style. Our left brain is the logical, analytical side of us, while the right is where creativity lies. While we use both sides of our brains for almost every task we do, each side of our brain has its area of specialty, which in turn influences the way we think. For children, brain dominance has a profound impact on school success. Understanding your child’s thinking style can help you be sure they are receiving the kind of instruction they need.
Art class is not just about art. Art and its foundational skill—drawing—is about reading and writing visually. When children learn to draw, they learn to see, evaluate and discern—visually. Many other subjects are affected by a child’s visual discernment and reading skills, such as math and reading.
Recently, I was invited to be part of a teacher in-service at a local Montessori pre-school. We met in the evening, after the children had gone home. As I entered the classroom, I saw shelves lined with familiar Montessori activities—all colorful, well-organized and designed to entice young learners. There is a special place in my heart for Montessori pre-schools, because their teaching method includes techniques and tools that work well for a multitude of learning styles, especially our visual and kinesthetic learners. Their engaging activities get the children interested but are also designed to help children develop discrimination, sequencing and organization skills that are critical to successful learning.
Writing my book, Being Visual, has been a long and insightful labor. Now that it’s complete (to be published September 2012), I have been honored to speak and share what it’s like to be a visual-spatial learner, the struggles these visual kids face in our current education system and some suggestions of how to better reach them. A few days ago, I spoke to a group of businessmen and women that work in the field of education, and when I was finished speaking, I was thankful to have several people from the group share their thoughts with me.
While the typical family is enjoying a casual summer schedule, research shows that the typical student brain is also taking a summer break and forgetting up to 40% of the information learned during the school year. Worse yet, can take up to 6 weeks to get back into the swing of learning once a student returns to school. In the average school year, that can add up to almost 50% learning loss overall, an overwhelming statistic in a make-it-or-break-it educational environment. The good news, however, is that while it’s easy to forget – it’s just as simple to put a plug in the drain and keep that brain active, engaged and learning while still having fun through the summer break.
Recently, I was invited to speak to a group of professionals at Northrop Grumman, a defense contractor located in the Chicago suburbs. A friend of mine is the leader of their “Women’s Initiatives for Networking and Success” group, one of many organizations for Northrop employees. This friend had heard about my book, Being Visual, and thought there might be some valuable insights I could share that would align with their mission as a professional development group. I happily agreed and focused the presentation on a foundational aspect of Being Visual; the nuances of left and right-brain thinking and the way it influences learning and performance.
I have been teaching young kids how to draw for over 20 years. The classes and teaching method were popular and effective, so I made a business out of it. But it’s never really been about the business. All I wanted was to work with kids — to do art with kids — to teach and empower — to see their sweet faces light up with every new discovery. My young students thrived when they got the “how to” information they craved. And while teaching children how to draw, they taught me — again and again — how important art is to them.
Let’s take a trip down memory lane to our 9th grade English class. You’re discussing Great Expectations. The teacher is reading excerpts that correlate with the notes she has on the board. Your assignment is to copy the notes, read the excerpts for homework and study the notes for a quiz the following day. Have we lost you yet?