Once you have discovered your child’s learning styles and multiple intelligences, there is a good chance you will discover they are at odds with the way lessons are traditionally taught in the school system. How can you go about making sure your child gets the best opportunities to learn? Here are some strategies:
Get To Know Your Child’s teacher – This should be your first and most important step going forward. Teachers want their students to succeed but in most cases the deck is stacked against them. Standardized testing, rigid curriculum, cost cuts, large class sizes, and lack of support are all challenges that teachers face every day.
Getting to know your child’s teacher gives you and your child an advantage. It lets the teacher know you are involved and concerned about your child. You can pass on valuable information – such as your child’s different learning styles and issues they may be having that the teacher is not aware of.
Scheduling a face to face meeting with your child’s new teacher each year should be a priority. Call and find a time that is good for them. Dropping in or trying to discuss your child at the end of a school day is usually frustrating and not successful as the teacher needs a clear head and schedule to absorb and address your concerns.
Come Prepared – Make the most of any meetings you have with teachers by being prepared. Create a list of the issues you want to address and have an idea of what outcomes you would like to see. It shows you are proactive and, if you offer solutions instead of just a whole bunch of problems, you are more likely to get what you want.
If your child is having difficulty in school because of their preferred learning style or multiple intelligence, look for solutions that are easy to implement in the classroom. See if there is any flexibility in how projects are done.
If your child is an auditory learner, see if they can do a presentation as opposed to a written report. If they are Kinesthetic see if they can get up and stretch from time to time. Incorporating stretching exercises, even for a few minutes at a time throughout the day, makes all students learn better. If your student is visual, practice good note taking skills at home and have kids write down any instructions they receive verbally. This will help them process the task at hand.
Offer Assistance – If there are any ways you can get involved, teachers are generally very grateful for the help. Does your child’s class have parent helpers? Sign up!
See if there is any material the teacher needs that you (or a parent association, or community member) could help provide. There are lots of free resources out there that teachers don’t have the time to track down. Many teachers operate on a tight budget, and any “extra” things such as art supplies or teaching aids that do cater to other learning styles are usually bought out of the teacher’s own pocket. It gets expensive to be a good teacher.
If there is a skill you have that you can share that might benefit the students, see if you can come in and teach a lesson. If your child is Kinesthetic you could teach a quick lessons on exercises you can do while sitting in their seats (look up instructions for exercises to do while flying for ideas). This wold be great for students who have to be active while they are learning.
Find Out What You Can Do At Home – Ask your teacher for suggestions on ways you can help your child learn better at home. See if they can recommend any extra resources for you. It might take your child a little longer to finish their homework if you have to present it in a way that fits their learning style but it is worth it!
This is another in a ongoing series of posts on Learning Styles and Multiple Intelligences. If there is a topic or aspect of these subjects you would like to see a post about, please email me.
see the rest of our posts in the Learning Style and Multiple Intelligence Series.
Do you have any strategies for dealing with different learning styles in the classroom? Please share below.