One Size Fits All is a term in the retail industry denoting a garment that is oversized and nearly shapeless that can accommodate different body types and sizes. It has become a general term meaning one style or procedure that would work for many situations and people. It indicates standardization and is not designed to fit individual needs. This “one size fits all” approach, from an educational perspective, can be quite detrimental to some students.
The Role of The Educator
Educators need to understand their student’s academic needs, not just follow a scripted curriculum. Whether public school, home school, or something in between, educators need to remember that the learning environment needs to belong to the student. The educator, be they a teacher or a parent, needs to acknowledge that they are merely the facilitator of learning.
This may sound unrealistic to a teacher with 30 students in her classroom. One of the best ways for teachers to better accommodate students is to allow (and welcome!) parent volunteers to come into the classroom to work with individual students at their own pace. Parent involvement is an untapped resource for classroom teachers and is under utilized.
Encouraging parent involvement in the classroom could ease the burdens of public school teachers and could certainly improve a student’s learning opportunities.
If your children are educated at home, you have the opportunity to spend time evaluating your child’s learning style and progress. This can give them a head start on their education as they have the freedom to embrace their unique learning style. This approach allows them to reach their full potential, not hindered by the “one size fits all” approach to learning that public schools perpetuate.
Remember, you don’t have to replicate school at home!
The Role of the Parent
Different Learning Styles
- Logical Learners: They have a systematic approach to learning. They tend to be organized and use order, steps and logic to solve problems. They are usually good at recognizing patterns easily. They enjoy working with numbers and are good at math, physics, and computer science. They like to categorize and classify. They are good at figuring out cause and effect. Give them opportunities at problem solving and working things out for themselves. Provide opportunities for them to make their own conclusions.
- Physical (tactile) Learners: They process information best when they are allowed to use their body and are actually moving around and doing something. They like to have hands-on projects and experiences. They use pen and paper to put their thoughts and problem solving talents to work.They enjoy large spaces where they are free to draw and write, such as maps, graphs, and diagrams. They are puzzle solvers and enjoy role-playing. Give them opportunities to teach others an activity.
- Solitary Learners: They learn best by working and studying by themselves. You may need to ask them questions to find out how they are doing as they may not openly share. Explain the process of learning as they are often more interested in the outcome than the process so they may miss something. Encourage them to find connections between what they have already learned and any new concepts to be sure they are tracking .
- Visual Learners: They retain information better when they have visual aids, such as pictures, colored diagrams, and images or videos. They are good at interpreting data such as maps, charts and graphs. Where these are not feasible for a subject, you can write visual cues for them. Encourage visualization during story telling and silent reading times. They benefit from color-coding materials to help them stay organized. Keep supplies on hand for them to draw and paint what they visualize.
- Aural Learners: They learn best through sound, music, rhymes, rhythm, audio recordings. They also remember conversations well and respond with strong emotions to music. They may benefit from audio books, especially if they have a challenge with reading. They enjoy listening to music when they are doing a task or homework. They may solve problems best by saying them aloud. They enjoy rhyming and poetry, so encourage them to write some of their own rhymes. Because they rely on sound to learn best, annoying background noises may be a hindrance to their studies.
- Verbal Learners-These are the ones that benefit from a teacher’s lecture. They enjoy using words; whether in writing, reading, speech, or listening They enjoy word games, rhymes, puns and other jokes and are good public speakers. Reinforce their learning by having them read a concept first, then write about what they learned, and finally discuss it.
- Social Learners-They process information by interacting with others. They enjoy people and are strong leaders. They enjoy being asked their opinion. Allow them to discuss and ask questions. They enjoy telling stories and role-playing. They work well in groups and are good at bouncing ideas off others and comparing ideas.
Looking at these seven different learning styles, it’s easy to see why only the verbal learners benefit much from the traditional teaching styles of public school. Some home schoolers attempt to create this same type of learning environment at home, only to find their child has the same troubles they had before starting homeschool.
This type of “one size fits all” education leaves out an overwhelming majority of learners. Spend some time with your kids to see how they react to being taught the way their brain works best. It may take a bit to undo the traditional mindset, but it’s so worth it!
Your child will benefit in the long run and feel comfortable in their new-found learning style.
To enhance your efforts, The Tuttle Twins books are designed especially for students/children of all ages. Their concepts are a springboard for children to discover who they are and how they view the world. They are great conversation starters and offer insight into many of the issues facing adults and children alike.