Things That Impact How Children Learn
It does not take a mother long to notice that her children have different personalities and temperaments and that they learn differently. Susan M. Miller Ed.D, explains that children respond differently in a variety of situations and how they learn is related to their reactions.
Susan suggests that parents and teachers get out a notepad and observe and record each child’s behavior in the five areas highlighted in the Dunn Model. Evaluating this information will provide clues to the best ways to help each child succeed.
Environmental. Mary is quick to complain that she is hot and to take her sweater off. Her mom wisely realizes that Mary is a child who is sensitive to temperatures and that is important to allow her to comfortable. Lana screams in terror when her mom flushes the toilet in a commercial bathroom. Her mom has never understood why this loud noise bothers her. Lana will learn better in a quiet setting. Penny rises early and walking to her window, pulls the blinds open. She loves to study outdoors in the sunshine or in a well-lighted room. Penny learns best in bright, cheerful settings.
Emotions. Mrs. Jones has organized her third grade class for a project. Those children who need more structure are working with the details of the assignment, while those who learn with open ended tasks are doing the necessary research. Mrs. Jones walks around her classroom observing their progress, stopping at Milly’s desk, providing a positive comment to keep Milly motivated. She does not interrupt Michael because she knows that he is persistent and prefers finishing his task independently. Mrs. Jones has given Amy the job of assembling each student’s part of the project into a folder, encouraging Amy to be responsible.
Sociological situations affect how we learn. One child thrives by himself, another finds success in peer groups, while having an adult nearby allows a third child to excel. Providing a variety of tasks for other youngsters is the best way to keep them on a positive learning track.
Physical. The physical aspects that affect learning are seen in the differences between children who are visual learners, those who like to listen, i.e., use their auditory skills, tactile learners who like to use their hands, and kinesthetic learners who require whole-body movement. Other situational differences show that some students need snacks or drinks while they study, and that early birds peak in the morning while others do best later in the day. Mobility learning styles include children who can sit for hours while others have to more around.
Psychological factors exhibit that there are children who can see the whole picture globally, while others must break a concept into parts. Right-brained youngsters like the arts, whereas the left-brained learners excel with math problems. Impulsive and Reflective attributes allow some children to jump into tasks while others must take their time.
These are just the highlights of a very complex subject, demonstrating the importance of allowing educators and parents to understand and teach each child individually.