The VAK approach to learning assumes children prefer using sight, sound or their hands to learn. This week, Nick Griffiths explores the visual part 

Michele Obama reads to children

Michelle Obama uses visual cues to help tell children a story. Photo by Charles McCain

Last week we introduced the VAK theory: that each of us leans towards a preferred style of learning, visual, auditory or kinaesthetic (by touch).

Now here’s a Q&A for your child to complete (not recommended for under-12s), which you should stress is NOT a ‘test’: take the VAK quiz.

Their responses must be honest and not based on what they think you want them to answer. This has nothing to do with strengths and is all about preferences.

Based on their responses, an algorithm automatically calculates a profile, giving their preference to each type of learning, as a percentage.

I have just taken the test, with these results:

Visual: 68%

Auditory: 50%

Kinaesthetic: 48%

As I predicted in the introductory feature last week, I do indeed prefer visual learning. Still, all three percentages are in a similar ballpark, suggesting that I respond to all three ways of absorbing knowledge.

Now let your child do the test. If they veer towards the visual, they prefer to learn through seeing. This does not mean you should bombard them with images and disregard auditory and kinaesthetic methods. But it makes you more aware that using visual aids can produce positive results.

They will like to see things written down, and could respond well to visual aids such as charts, posters, Post-It notes, PowerPoint presentations, maps and graphs.

If your child is having trouble with a specific subject, say, try squeezing a relevant poster in between this year’s equivalent of David Cassidy or the tennis-bum lady on their wall.

Make sure it’s visually interesting, mind. My parents nailed a terribly worthy black-and-white Kings and Queens of Britain chart to my bedroom wall, which had no pictures and represented the length of their reigns using differently sized classical columns. Though I glanced at it often, I never could tell my Henry IV from my Henry VI.

They might also benefit from taking notes, which they can then re-read, so encourage this. Similarly, handouts might work well, as might drawing mind maps. LINK http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mind_map

On the opposite side of the coin, being visually inclined suggests they may drift off when required to listen for long periods – I know I did – so it could help to maintain their alertness by peppering any aural learning with questions for them to answer.

Remember, there are no hard and fast rules in VAK. Keep learning varied and fun!

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