When kids are in preschool and kindergarten, teachers knock themselves out to provide for a variety of different learning styles. Every early childhood education teacher knows that children learn through their eyes as well as their ears, their hands, their bodies and their intellects. Children with diagnoses such as Asperger syndrome, Autism Spectrum Disorder, ADHD and so forth are more likely to be visual learners, since their ability to sit still, listen and process verbal information is limited or impaired.
Once kids are in grade school, though, the visual and hands-on teaching tools disappear. Instead of highly colored picture books, bright posters, and cheerful image-based worksheets, kids are presented with words, words and more words. This is really pretty strange, since no one outgrows their learning style – and kids who were visual learners at age three will still be visual learners at age 8, 11, and 15!
Words — written and spoken — are a great way to communicate with some kids. But visual learners take in most of their information through their eyes. As visual learners grow up, they may find it increasingly difficult to learn through lectures and reading. As adults, visual learners may go into fields that bank on their ability to understand and work with visual information: draftsmanship, graphic design, and so forth.
Remember those old National Geographic magazines, loaded with fabulous images, that you stored in your attic? Pull them out, and let your visual learners page through. What better way to discover the wider world without the cost of actually traveling to Africa?
Teachers and parents can help visual learners out by providing supplementary visual teaching tools, even to older students. These can range from videos to Power Point presentations to picture books, photo albums, diagrams, blueprints and slide shows.
Virtual schools and supplementary online classes are now being built around interactive, visual teaching tools. If a child learns best through visual interactivity, an online textbook or course may be an ideal option.
Informal education settings such as art museums and science museums are set up to teach kids visually. Activities that build on visual learning, such as orienteering or model building, may be great ways to build skills and confidence.
For more on visual learning, explore:
Education.com has a whole series of article on visual learning, including tips on creating teaching tools and helping visual learners to succeed.
Time4Learning is an online virtual “school” that offers highly visual, interactive classes for kids in grade K-8. Read about visual learning, and try out a demo.
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