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How Do I Learn?
By: Upper School Social Studies Erin Moore
Have you ever given any thought to how you learn? In social studies, students were asked to complete a questionnaire to see what learning style best describes them. The goal was to provide students the opportunity to reflect and see how they learn in hopes they would use that information to help them study for a test or complete their homework.
A learning style is an individual’s approach to learning based on strengths, weaknesses and preferences. And knowing yourself as a learner is important if you want to achieve to the best of your ability. When it comes to processing information, your brain is the most important part of your body and to understand it is essential. Whether students already felt confident they knew their learning styles or had no idea, they were all excited to answer the question “How do I learn best?”
We all know the the learning styles: visual, auditory and kinesthetic/tactile. What I was surprised to find is that students were far more in-tune with how they learn than I guessed. Once we discussed each style of learning, students were already confident they knew the answer. The self-evaluation asked students 10 questions for each type of learning and after tallying how many applied to them, students could see if their guesses were correct. Some questions were: “I remember things best by reading them or writing them down;” “I can easily remember what people say;” and “It is hard for me to sit still for a long time.” It impressed me to see how aware students were of their actions when they were reading the questions.
We also talked about how students can fit into more than one category. After taking the test, it was fun to see the students yell out “I was right!” or “Really? I didn’t know I learned that way.” Some were even surprised that they fit into more than one category. One student came back later and said, “This really helped me when studying for a test. I knew as a visual learner that flashcards would be best.” Exposing students to the learning styles acted as another tool to help them be successful!
As a teacher, it was also important for me to collect this information. My goal is to meet the learning needs to each student, and sometimes we can focus on one style instead of all three. Including more hands-on projects would work to support my tactile and even visual learners. To understand learning styles is important because the reason different learning styles affect your life so much is that they are somewhat like your personality, but closer to how you process information. Using this assessment does not just help me meet the needs of my students in the classroom, it also helps me to get to know them better as people and that helps me understand their needs. Knowing this, I am working to create lessons that push me out of my comfort zone and force me to look at each lesson and ask myself, “Is this best meeting the needs of my students?”
Rossman School, nestled on a 20-acre campus in Creve Coeur, is an independent preparatory school for students in Junior Kindergarten (four years old) through Grade 6. The school’s mission is to provide a strong, well-balanced education in a nurturing school community committed to excellence. Dedicated to developing personal, nurturing relationships with each child, Rossman’s experienced educators provide a solid foundation in academics, athletics and arts while emphasizing strong character development and leadership skills. Request a free Rossman School brochure here.