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What type of learner is your child?

Laura Willard is a law school grad who has successfully avoided using her education for eight years and counting. She's a wife and an adoptive mom to two kids. Motherhood is the best job she never knew she wanted so much until she had it...

Checklist: Learning types

Not all children learn in the same manner. A single classroom contains children with broadly differing learning styles, yet are taught in the same way. And even within the same family, siblings often possess their own learning styles. Knowing what type of learner your child is will help you tailor his education, study environment and the way in which you help him learn. Kim Duckworth, academic coach and owner of SEC Tutoring in Scottsdale, Arizona, explains eight styles of learning based on Howard Gardner's theory of multiple intelligences. Use this checklist to determine your child's learning style.

Girl Reading Outside

Linguistic:

  • Good with words
  • Prefers to learn with words or language
  • Excellent at communicating
  • Careers that linguistic learners often pursue: Speaker, journalist, attorney

Encourage your kids to read >>

Logical-mathematical:

  • Good with numbers
  • Strong sense of reasoning, shows very logical thinking
  • Good at detecting patterns, shows strong scientific reasoning and deduction, and can predict outcomes of events, particularly when they are based on numbers
  • Careers that logical-mathematical learns often pursue: Scientist, engineer, accountant

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Spatial:

  • Learns best with pictures
  • Likes to look at charts, graphs, etc.
  • Careers that spatial learners often pursue: Artist, designer, architect, photographer, inventor

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Kinesthetic:

  • "Body smarts" -- needs movement to learn
  • Able to handle objects well
  • Has a good sense of timing
  • Careers that kinesthetic learners often pursue: Dancer, firefighter, athlete, soldier, diver

Enhance children's activity >>

Musical/auditory:

  • Sensitive to rhythm, sound, tone and music
  • Able to sing on pitch, enjoys playing musical instruments
  • Learns well from lectures
  • Careers that musical learners often pursue: Singer, composer, conductor

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Interpersonal Learner:

  • "People smarts" -- enjoys working with others, in groups, etc.
  • Extroverted
  • Sensitive to others' moods and feelings
  • Good communicator
  • Careers that interpersonal learners often pursue: Therapist, educator, clergy

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Intrapersonal learner:

  • "Self smart" -- self reflective
  • Introverted
  • Very in touch with own feelings and motivations
  • More solitary than other types
  • Careers that intrapersonal learners often pursue: Psychologist, writer, philosopher

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Naturalistic learner:

  • In touch with nature
  • Knows where things are, doesn't tend to get lost
  • Studies well near an open window or outside
  • Careers that naturalistic learners often pursue: Farmer, gardener

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Once you determine the type of learner your child is, you can better understand how he learns best. It might make more sense to you that your child tends to move a lot while he studies if you know he is a kinesthetic learner, for example. Duckworth cautions parents that changing a child's learning style is impossible. Instead, he advises you to work with it!

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Encourage your child's particular learning style.

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