Self Esteem part 2: Understanding Learning Styles

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Looking at what each style entails
I wanted to put this together to line it up with my last post on a similar subject. Since humans really are very complex in how they are developed, not necessarily referring to the physical appearance but rather to all other aspects of them, it does makes sense as to why you get different levels of success in the process. What I mean is that you get successful musicians, engineers, C.P.A’s and so on, not only because of the level of intelligence required for those positions and others, but also because of each individual’s ability to gather information, that is, their learning style.  There are numerous ways to learn anything but the challenge comes when schools confine individuals to linguistic and logical methods, simply because teaching techniques require-to a certain extent-those particular styles.  This leaves one to ask, “How is an audible and visual learner supposed receive and retain information?”

The fortunate thing with learning styles is that each and every one of them can be learned. Individuals with dominant learning styles use those as their preferred type but does not really reflect on their inability to learn others. Some people may find that they have a primary style of learning, with far less use of the other styles. Others may find that they use different styles in different circumstances. There is no right mix. Nor are your styles fixed. You can develop your ability in less dominant styles, as well as further develop styles that you already use well. On that note let us take a look at what they are:

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Visual (spatial): You prefer using pictures, images, and spatial understanding. You mostly focus on the visual elements of what you are learning or you at least try to visualize the material in one way or another.

  • Often times you would colour when you take notes. This can be hard if your notes are being done electronically. Presentation is key, so being creative in the layout of the notes helps as well. For example, putting the subheading at the other side of the page then drawing an arrow leading to the point mentioned. That can also serve as the parent point. From there the next two or three points can be brought out.
  • Another thing is using mind-maps. Now this is something I have done very few times before. I seldom do so with regards to goal setting, instead with that, I use a regular spiral notepad, draw tables and label each one accordingly, however, mind-maps are very useful especially when brainstorming.
  • In primary school my motivation for actually reading my notes were pictures I tore from magazines and put in place of words. Other times I drew them.

Aural (auditory-musical): You prefer using sound and music. This is more of a comparison type learning style. You would think about what sound or musical element relates to the topic at hand. For example history information can be related to trumpet sounds put together with a grand piano and violin, all playing at individual moments and eventually together. It is possible that the music score for the historical events required for aid in visualization is assembled using those instruments.

a) Aural learners use sound recordings to provide a background to help them get into visualizations. For example, use a recording of an aircraft engine running normally, playing loudly via a headset, to practice flight procedures. Use a recording of the sound of wind and water when visualizing sailing manoeuvres. You could piece both of these together in sequence or in their appropriate places if they both come in a story.

b) When creating mnemonics or acrostics, make the most of rhythm and rhyme, or set them to a jingle or part of a song. I know of some people who actually do this in order to memorize Bible verses!

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Verbal (linguistic): You prefer using words, both in speech and writing. Sometimes I would use some rhythm to the words to make it interesting enough to remember. With me, I kind of think in patterns, meaning, the tone and melodic effect the words produce is what would help me remember them. It is how I crammed info too. That method is very abstract so it is immensely difficult to explain. Think about how these words are arranged:

Due to the catastrophic effect of the flood, many animals lost their homes.

Try not to be a news anchor when you read those words. If you did not notice it, that is alright. The thrust comes from the third, fourth and fifth word.

1) Verbal learners use speaking and writing techniques to remember what they learn. For instance talking themselves through info as if practicing a speech, or recording the info and playing it back for content repetition, are effective methods.

2)  Acronym mnemonics use words, focusing on the first letter of the word to make up another word or memorable sequence. You can also make up phrases using the items you want to memorize. I used to do this more often than not. I think I did it for spelling words in addition to simply cramming.

3) Similar to the first point reading aloud is very helpful. When you read content aloud, make it dramatic and varied. Instead of using a monotone voice to go over details, turn it into a lively and energetic speech worthy of the theatre.

Physical (kinesthetic): You prefer using your body, hands and sense of touch. This is more of a sensory style of learning. It is about how you can feel what is happening. As you visualize the material you include the physical aspects in the details of the image and how that affects the characters or even inanimate objects!
Other times you would be vivid enough to embrace the sensation the visualized image emits.

-If you are visualizing a tack (turn) on a sailboat, focus on physical sensations. Feel the pressure against your hand as you turn the rudder, and the tension lessening on the ropes.

-Use physical objects as much as possible. Physically touch objects as you learn about what they do. Flashcards can help you memorize information because you can touch and move them around.

-Writing and drawing are physical activities too. The most effective thing to do in this case would be to use big sheets of paper to prolong the time it takes to write and draw, thereby, making as much use of the physicality as possible.

-Being calm helps the process too. Breathing and relaxing takes the strain out of learning with some materials.

Logical (mathematical): You prefer using logic, reasoning and systems. If you have Logical-Mathematical intelligence then by nature you would ingest information the same way. Of course not all the time but it would be the principal method for learning.

* While you study, create and use lists by extracting key points from your material. You may also want to use statistics and other analysis to help you identify areas you may want to concentrate on.
I used to do this but over the years I have a grown more accepting of just headlines and usually omit sweating the details. The good thing with that is I avoid over-rationalizing which may lead to either missing the point completely or misunderstanding it.

*Another strategic thing to do is using association, it often works well when it is illogical and irrational. It doesn’t matter how logical two items are together. You have a better chance of recalling them later if you have make the association illogical. Your brain may protest at first!

*If you find you are overanalyzing which school to start with, or you are over-planning your course maps, stop and refocus on activities that move you forward. Measure your activities by your speed towards your goal. Planning exactly how much time to spend on each chapter of theory doesn’t help learn it anywhere near as fast as starting on the theory!

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Social (interpersonal): You prefer to learn in groups or with other people. Depending on the subject, this often helped. Bouncing ideas off other people and receiving information you had not even considered was the best. The only thing that was not fun was balancing the minds. People who were academically and/or logic-mathematically intelligent got the ball rolling real fast! Some of us had a hard time keeping up, but thankfully there were moments where I experienced the other side of the coin.

  • As a social learner it is more beneficial to recite statements to yourself, try sharing your key statements with others. By doing so, you are almost signing a social contract that your statement is what you do. This strengthens your statements.
  • Share your reviews, review checklists and ‘perfect performance’ writings with those in your group as well. By listening to how others solve their issues, you may get further ideas on how to solve your own issues.
  • Others often have different perspectives and creative styles, and so the group may come up with more varied and imaginative associations compared to the ones you might create yourself. Which is why sharing them will prove beneficial regardless of humbling you may feel if what you have is not as intelligible.

Solitary (intrapersonal): You prefer to work alone and use self-study

1) When you associate and visualize, highlight what you would be thinking and feeling at the time. When it comes to research, this is best done in private, completely void of all distractions.

2) Your thoughts have a large influence on your performance and often safety. Your thoughts are just as much part of a system as is the physical equipment you are using, such as an aircraft, car or boat.

3) Keep a journal but one that is different from your personal one. Include extra information about your thoughts and feelings. Outline your challenges, ideas on how to overcome them, and what worked. Write down what works well and doesn’t work well for you. While you are studying, be aware of thoughts or concerns that arise. Write them down and come back to them. You can then bounce your results off other people and see what conclusions you come up with.

In the end what matters is understanding how you learn best and also how others learn as well. When each of you embrace the other’s learning style, it strengthens the relationship that much more. Imagine the impact it can have when you know each other’s level of intelligence?
Next I will focus on how communicating the right love language makes that much of a difference in relating to others, as well as knowing yourself better.


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