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Intelligence

The idea that people have different 'learning styles' has now largely been debunked. People do not fall neatly into categories of visual, auditory or kinaesthetic learners, nor left or right brained learners. The reality is that we use all of our brain for learning and all of our senses in a holistic way.

The same is true of 'thinking styles.' There are different ways of thinking but we all use every 'style' in our lives. The difference is the degree to which we use different ways of thinking. Some people do tend to be more analytical or logical and others more creative, but everyone uses creativity and analysis/logic sometimes or we would not actually function in society.

What is true however, is that everyone is different and people do have different preferences and approaches to life that affect their learning.

When embarking on your home education journey, it is important to observe your child to look for their preferences in different situations. It is also important to identify our own preferences so that we can be aware of not imposing what works for us onto our children. A parent who always did well with learning through reading and being very organised may push their child to do the same, believing that it is the way to learn successfully. But if she is aware of these traits, she may realise that her child may learn better through moving around a lot and may not need to be organised to learn effectively - and that this is also an equally valid way of learning.

In this talk, Professor Daniel Willingham explains the myth of learning styles:  

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sIv9rz2NTUk

Daniel Willingham states, "What cognitive science has taught us is that children do differ in their abilities with different modalities, but teaching the child in his best modality doesn't affect his edu-cational achievement. What does matter is whether the child is taught in the content's best mo-dality. All students learn more when content drives the choice of modality."

It is important to remember that  there are a range of preferences in different categories that your child may show for learning in different situations. The intention is not to pigeon-hole your child into being labelled a particular type of learner, but to offer ideas of factors that can affect learning and the opportunity to develop awareness of our learning preferences and thus develop the flexibility to learn in a much wider range of situations. Rather than labelling a child as having a particular learning style, it is more valuable to help your child identify a range of conditions for learning and support them to create conditions they prefer and to work with conditions that aren't their first preference when faced with these situations.  For more information on learning preferences you may like to click on this link or to purchase a copy of Getting Started in Home Education.