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Understanding your child’s learning style is key to educational success

Learn about four learning styles and tips for identifying the one that fits your child best.

Children display many of the same traits as parents, such as athletic ability, musical taste and educational interests. However, their styles of learning may be completely different. Children see the world through their own lens, and it is important to affirm this lens in a way that allows them to build on their natural strengths.

Having a CCA parent or caretaker identify a child’s learning style may be integral to his or her educational success.

At CCA, our new learning management system, edio, provides courses that can be personalized for each child’s learning style.

If you know your child’s learning style, you will have a stronger grasp of effective study methods and the best fit for after-school activities, camps and extracurricular classes.

What Are The Styles of Learning?

Cyber schools support diverse learners better than traditional public schools can because they are designed to offer multiple ways to learn. Also, because students can learn at their own pace, teachers can work more closely with students and tailor their instruction to accommodate an individual’s learning style.

Students learn in many ways – and not all people fit neatly into one category of learning because there is typically overlap between styles. Considering that, some psychologists have theorized that most students generally fit into one of these categories.

Type 1: Kinesthetic Learners

Kinesthetic learners are driven by the sense of touch. They are very active and physically expressive. These learners usually have a strong sense of balance and learn best by doing things themselves. However, kinesthetic learners can struggle with following directions.

Signs your child is a kinesthetic learner:

  • Aptitude in sports, dance or other physical activities
  • Tendency to fidget/inability to sit still
  • Frequent use of gestures when speaking or explaining things
  • An interest in hands-on activities such as writing and drawing

Learning tools that may work best for a kinesthetic learner include craft projects, math manipulatives, tracing, creating visual tools and dramatic plays. Typically, any movement incorporated into lessons and learning is sure to help them. They could pace to help memorize, play learning games that let them move or have an assignment that requires building a model or similar activity. Once these students can physically sense what they’re studying, abstract ideas and difficult concepts will be easier to understand.

Type 2: Visual Learners

Visual learners, on the other hand, are observant of the world around them. This is also referred to as the “spatial” learning style. Children who are visual learners may show a keen interest in photographs and illustrations. They also tend to retain information presented to them on screens (whether computers, televisions or movies). However, they can struggle with projects requiring “outside the box” thinking.

Signs your child is a visual learner:

  • A vivid memory of names, places and people
  • An aptitude for reading
  • An interest in art (painting, drawing or crafts)
  • A good sense of direction and an understanding of maps

Learning tools that may be helpful for visual learners include matching games, flash cards, pictures, graphs, timelines, videos and maps. They’ll do best if teachers use whiteboards, regularly make handouts and guides, and use presentations for teaching a concept. Teachers can have these students draw pictures and diagrams or sketch examples based on what they are learning. Sometimes visual learners need extra time to process material as they study the pictures, diagrams and handouts in front of them. Cyber charter students have the advantage of being able to work at their own pace, so taking extra time to learn is never a problem.

Type 3: Auditory Learners

Auditory learners prefer to take in information by listening. They’re great communicators and often learn to talk at an early age. They also tend to easily remember verbal instructions, songs and stories. However, they may struggle with attention to detail in written work, math, science and history.

Signs your child is an auditory learner:

  • Aptitude for playing musical instruments or singing
  • Strong verbal ability, especially through repetition of words and phrases
  • Ability to listen well and follow oral directions
  • Sharp ability to notice sounds that others don’t recognize

Learning tools for auditory learners include music, rhymes, audiobooks and conversation. It can be hard for auditory learners to stay quiet for long stretches of time. Teachers can involve them in a lesson by asking them to repeat some of the new concepts the class has learned. Question-and-answer sessions are a favorite activity for them, as are group discussions that will allow them to process information. Using videos, music and audio recordings can help engage auditory learners.

Type 4: Verbal (Linguistic) Learners

Verbal learners do their best with both verbal instruction and writing. They enjoy reading and writing, and they can express themselves in writing and in speaking. They like tongue twisters and rhymes, have a big vocabulary and enjoy learning new words. These types of learners can often be found in fields that involve public speaking, writing, journalism and debating.

Verbal learners need to read content out loud a few times or have someone speak information to them to learn. They often process information by taking notes and writing information – such as new vocabulary words – several times.

Verbal learners need a combination of reading, writing and speaking to learn best. That may involve reading about a concept and taking notes, writing a short paper and then discussing the topic or presenting to classmates. Role-playing, acronyms, mnemonic devices and lists of key words help these students learn best.

A child could have more than one learning style, so he or she may exhibit traits in more than one area. However, one area may be stronger than the rest. Therefore, identifying learning style is the first step to getting your child on a path to success.

Where the Public School System Falls Short

Most parents are familiar with the difficulties that public schools face today. Too many students, too few resources and too little funding.

The funding difficulties are felt across the nation, and that’s because most states have stuck with traditional funding systems that rely on property taxes to support their public education systems. In most states, children who grow up in a wealthy neighborhood attend well-funded public schools because of a large and stable property tax base. Children who live in low-income or rural neighborhoods often are forced to attend under-resourced, budget-challenged schools because their community’s property tax base cannot support a robust school system.

The highest-spending districts in the United States spend nearly 10 times more than the lowest-spending, wiftradth large differentials across and within states. State funding rarely fills the gaps. In Pennsylvania, the Pennsylvania School Boards Association calculated that, for the 2017-18 school year, almost 58% of school district revenues came from local taxes and 38% came from the state.

While public cyber charter schools in Pennsylvania are public nonprofit entities, they receive their funding with public money from the school districts in which their students reside. So every cyber school has to live within that budgetary framework as well.

Funding difficulties aren’t the only problem with public school today. With a typical course period running only 45 minutes, teachers are hard-pressed to cover an adequate amount of material but also find little time to engage their students in any sort of collaborative learning.

To make matters more difficult, a vibrant elective program like CCA offers has fallen to budget cuts in public schools because school districts perceive electives as extras that are the first to be cut. CCA’s cyber charter students have the luxury of a vast array of electives that help them with everything from gaining specialized instruction in coding to learning about careers in the medical field.

Public schools also struggle with classroom size. One teacher for 20-30 students can be a lot to handle, and teaching can become impersonal. Students and parents depend upon teachers to evaluate student learning, figure out a child’s weaknesses and strengths, and work together to achieve educational success.

Combine a crowded classroom with typical student behavioral problems and disruptions, and teachers may have little time to customize an education, let alone make personal connections with their students. Cyber schools support diverse learners because they work with students to progress at their own pace and can engage face to face, during online lessons and through chats, emails and phone calls.

While CCA students graduate career- and college-ready, students in the public school system often are at a disadvantage because their districts cannot adequately integrate learning technology into the curriculum. The issues range from a lack of computers and software to inadequate time for teachers to incorporate new technologies to a lack of technical support and the slow development of technology-aware policies. Full-time virtual schools are technologically advanced and ready for their students to learn online at any time of the day or night.

How Cyber Schools Support Students With Diverse Learning Styles

At CCA, we recognize that students come to us with different skills, needs, abilities and learning styles. Unlike the public school system that often forces students into a one-size-fits-all mold, we meet our students where they are in their educational journey. We work together with their families to uncover the methods and styles that work best for them in our customized learning environment.

Full-time virtual schools offer a built-in ability for students to learn easily in a manner that fits their individual style. CCA students can take real-time virtual lessons or listen to recorded lessons later, undertake independent study and participate in hands-on career-readiness opportunities. Also, your enrolled student can attend more than 700 field trips at CCA. Not only do all of those options make it easy for students to learn on their own schedule, but offering so many ways to learn clearly accommodates the many learning styles students bring to our school.

In addition to supporting students with diverse learning styles, CCA constantly encourages our students to explore new ideas and opportunities. Through our rich core course offerings, electives, Honors and AP courses, and a plentiful selection of school clubs, students are bound to discover an array of choices that interest them. If there’s something your student wants to learn, cyber school is flexible enough that we can find a way to make it a reality.

Cyber schools also support diverse learners by promoting social learning. Just because their education takes place primarily online doesn’t mean cyber charter students are isolated in front of a computer screen all day. In addition to interacting with their peers and teachers online and during real-time virtual lessons, CCA students have the opportunity to participate in more than two dozen clubs. CCA also offers more than 700 social and educational field trips across the state every year for learning and for fun. Taken together, these opportunities give CCA students the chance to interact and make friends with students from across the entire state, not just in their local neighborhood school.

The public school system often is too overtaxed to help students determine exactly how they learn best and is rarely equipped to customize teaching to suit each individual student. At CCA, teachers and counselors work with students to determine their best learning styles and establish goals for success. And unlike many public school systems that keep their offerings and systems the same year after year, the education professionals at CCA adapt to students’ changing needs. Our cyber charter students, their learning coaches, teachers and counselors regularly work together to review their progress and adjust goals as needed throughout the school year.

Our counselors also help students set postgraduation goals, connect them with information regarding financial aid and scholarships, help with college test preparation courses and provide ample resources to explore career options and vocational training.

We also know a student’s success involves more than just school work – personal, social and academic issues can affect a student’s success in school and in life. Our counselors have received advanced degrees and specialized training in developmental and educational psychology to help students if issues surface.

CCA’s personalized education prepares our diverse learners for success in any path they choose after graduating from cyber school – continued education, military service or entry into the workforce.

Benefits of Cyber Charter Schools

CCA teaches all students from accelerated learners to those who have a learning disability. Our full-time virtual school has the right teachers to help educate your child with a flexible schedule and customized course offerings so your student can learn at their own pace.

Whether your child needs extra time to learn or needs to move faster than other students in the classroom, CCA’s teachers and counselors are ready to help them succeed. CCA is designed to suit every style of learner. This is how school should work.

Learn more today about how CCA can work for your family.

Author

Commonwealth Charter Academy

Published

September 19th, 2018

Category

Learning Lab

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