As I was reading comments people posted to some of my earlier blogs, I realized how different we are from each other. This is a good thing! We need diversity in order to thrive as a society. There were several comments on my blog post about whether writing something down can help you remember it. One person said she writes first, then later types. Another said he just enters information into his smart phone. Another said she absolutely must write what she needs to later remember. These comments made me chuckle, but they also made me think again about how children need to figure out for themselves what works best for them in school.
Here are some ideas to discuss with your child. It might take some experimenting to find out what strategy works the best:
- Listen carefully to an explanation of something being taught and think about how it connects with something else you already know. For example, if your daughter is studying Newton’s First Law of Motion she might think about how the seat belt feels when the car slows down quickly.
- Drawing pictures of concepts as you learn them can be helpful. People who think visually will remember better if pictures are associated with the learning. Don’t forget to add color, because that can help with memory, too.
- Out-of-the-box thinking might help some students learn best. For example, making up a story, dance, poem or song might be a successful way to remember. This would never occur to most students, but it might be just the thing for another.
- As parents, we tend to think that what worked for us will work for our children. This may or may not be true. Be careful not to force your child to study the same way you studied if he has already found out your method doesn’t work for him.
- Maybe episodic memory is your child’s strength. Re-read my blog on how episodic memory works and discuss it with your child.
Note to students and parents: Students, it is important to keep trying to figure out your personal learning style. Once you understand it, you can take steps to improve in school. Parents, you can help by asking your child to think about what seems to work. Ask, “What do you like the best in school?” Thinking about that can often give clues about a child’s strengths.
For more information about learning styles and school success, read SchoolFamily.com’s article What is Your Child’s Learning Style? and search for “learning style” to find many articles on this topic here at SchoolFamily.com.