Thursday, September 06, 2007

Learning Styles and TV

Recent research results, published in “Archives of Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine”, suggest that allowing children to watch TV and play video games could pose a major threat to their health. This is not only because of the indoor, passive and sedentary nature of the two pastimes, but also because of the contents.

For example, among teenagers raised in sexually conservative backgrounds, watching two or more hours of TV per day made it significantly more likely for the teen to engage in sexual activities than their non-TV watching peers exposed to the same upbringing.

Furthermore, playing a violent video game seems to increase a child’s general disregard for their own safety of and the safety of others, thus making teenagers more likely to try drugs, alcohol, unprotected sex or driving under the influence.

But what about educational DVDs and games? We, at Creative Learning, accept that TV and computer games - when used correctly - play a role in education. If a child’s learning style indicated preferences for computer-learning or visual learning with pictures, we strongly encourage parents to include that method in the child’s education.

Do you know whether e-learning, computer games and educational videos are suitable to your child’s learning style? To find out, please click here.

But what about babies and preschoolers who are too young to have their learning style analysed? The accepted wisdom is to teach your toddlers using a multi-sensory approach, which includes all of the stimuli listed below:
· Tactile (allowing them to explore shapes and texture - wool, foam, grass, water, sand, silk - with their hands, feet, and the skin on the rest of their bodies);
· Kinesthetic (running, jumping, climbing, balancing, trips to the zoo or the museum);
· Auditory (listening to music, songs, poems, stories);
· Visual (books, videos, watching the nature outside, watching family activities).

Again, a word of caution here about videos. University of Seattle, Washington, conducted a study into the popular Baby Einstein and Brainy Baby series of educational videos aimed at improving the vocabularies of babies and toddlers. The researches were dismayed to discover that children who watch such DVDs usually know fewer keywords than those who don’t.
Could it be that their learning style preferences are showing early? Or is the two-dimensional TV screen simply not a good visual medium for babies or toddlers? Or perhaps babies who watch DVDs have less time to interact with their primary educators, the parents?

As with everything else, moderation is the key.

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