Have you ever wondered how children learn?


As a teacher of young learners, parents often ask me what they can do to help their children learn. A simple question, you may think but one that often receives a complicated answer. We all know that children learn in different ways and that no one way of learning is better than another. So what are these ways?

If we adults think about the ways in which we receive information from the world around us, we could probably identify three ways of learning – through our eyes, ears and bodies. These three ways of perceiving the world around us roughly equate to three different learning styles:

  • People who like to see things, draw pictures and watch things are said to have a visual style.
  • People who like to listen to things, have discussions and listen to music as they read have an auditory style.
  •  People who like to move around, touch and do are said to have a kinaesthetic style.


Now in answer to the question “How can I help my child learn?” it is perhaps better to work with a combination of the above styles if that does not make the whole process difficult. It is important to note here that though a child may have a “preferred” style, the world in which we live in will require him/her to use all styles in different situations. Children who stick to only one “preferred” style tend not to be as successful as those who can adopt different strategies as the occasion demands. Don’t get stuck in your or your childs “preferred” way of learning. Try a variety of ideas and approaches with the same learning point:


Visual Learning

  • Draw pictures
  • Make posters and maps
  • Make a scrap-book
  • Take photographs
  • Draw graphs


Auditory Learning

  • Read aloud
  • Discuss and question
  • Record yourself on a cassette
  • Put things to music
  • Chant and sing


Kinaesthetic Learning

  • Mime
  • Role-play
  • Make models and puppets
  • Visit places
  • Use video cameras


Remember a good learner will be equipped with many different techniques to learn what is necessary so help your children in as many different ways as possible.

Building on the three different learning styles of visual, auditory and kinaesthetic, Multiple Intelligence theory (Gardner) presupposes that each child has a distinct intelligence profile which is made up to a greater or lesser extent of separate intelligences.  As before learning has a greater chance of success if opportunity is provided for children to utilise as many of these intelligences as possible.


The Intelligence

What it means

Example Activities


the ability to recognise logical patterns, to sort and analyse

Keep a scrapbook


 the sensitivity to the moods and feelings of others

Reading together


 the sensitivity to sounds of words and language

Find words that sound the same

Visual Spatial

 the ability to think in pictures

Draw a picture


 the sensitivity to rhythm, pitch and music

Sing a song


 the ability to categorise the natural world

Go on an outing


 the ability to understand one’s own feelings

Keep a diary


 the ability to express ourselves physically

Mime something


Find more practical ideas for your younger learners at: http://www.britishcouncil.org/kids.htm - games, songs, stories and lots of activities.