Thursday, February 23, 2012

Learning Styles and the Times Tables

Even though the world we live in has a calculator built into every phone and iPod, our children are still expected to memorise the times tables. Depending on your child's learning style, they may accept the idea, or they may rebel against the task's inherent boredom.

Paradoxically, the problem deepens for those students who are good at maths. Because they know that 8x7 is the same as 8+8+8+8+8+8+8, they don't want to memorise the answer. Instead, they want to work it out every time, because it's more interesting. 16+16+16+8, this is the same as 32+24, so the answer is 56. Much more fun for an analytic brain to do the calculation than to learn by rote. The problem comes when the teacher needs an instant answer.

So, if memorise they must, what's the best way? Depending whether your child is visual, tactile, auditory or kinesthetic, here are some ideas on how to drill the times tables:
  • Put up a poster with the times tables on the inside of the toilet door.
  • When you're driving or cooking with your child, ask them five to seven times-table lines, like 3x3 and 7x6.
  • Let the child use cuisenaire rods to illustrate the answer. 
  • Write the question on the child's back and let them write the answer on yours.
  • Create a colourful worksheet to fill in.
  • Put the question in context: Anna's chocolate box has 4 rows of chocolates and each row holds 5 chocolates. How many chocolates are in the box?
  • Make up a song: Six times four is twenty-four. Or look for a ready song, for example,
To multiply by ten

you take the number then

Add a zero to it

And that’s the end. (

If you use the wrong approach for your child's learning style, you might put him off maths for a long time. Check their learning style today.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Stress and Learning Styles

The amount of stress in your daily life, whether you are 5, 15 or 55, will depend - among other factors - on your unique learning style.

Take something as simple as the light in your house or office. Did you know that some people feel lethargic in dimly lit rooms, while others get stressed in a room in which the light bulbs are very bright? Fluorescent lights in particular can make you feel extremely agitated because of their constant flickering that your eye doesn’t notice but your brain still registers.

Noise levels can be a powerful stress-fuel too. If your working style calls for a silent environment in which to work, a modern open-plan office with its constant buzz of activity is going to make you tense and irritable.

Are you someone who loves fixed routines? Then any change at work (like moving office, a new boss, a new software package) will cause you stress. Don’t let people make light of your anxiety by saying “It’s just a little computer program, why are you so upset?” If you like routine, you will be upset by any departure from the known and the trusted. It’s in your biological makeup and you can’t change it.

Do you do mornings well? If not, having to attend a meeting at 8.30am is likely to make you feel grumpy and strained.

What are the factors affecting your stress levels? Find out.

Thursday, February 09, 2012

Parents and Learning Styles

Study after study, scientific research has made it clear that parental involvement affects their children's education. "Parents who actively participate in their children's learning at home help them become successful learners.  They enable children to reach their potential not only in school, but also in life." (Henderson & Berla, 1994). 
It's natural, as well as beneficial, for parents to want to help with homework, or to explain lessons the child didn't understand at school. However, as a parent, you have to be aware of your child's learning style before you help them. If you're not, you might even be working in ways that impede your child’s learning. Children find it hard to understand what parents are trying to explain if the information is not presented in the way they learn best, i.e., through their learning style preferences.
Learning-Style consists of six layers of learning-style elements: information processing, input through senses, social interaction, physical needs, environmental preferences, and attitudes.
Some children work best alone, others prefer to work with an authority figure or in groups of friends. Some children prefer visual aids while others like learning with their hands.
Your children can become outstanding in their schoolwork just as they do in other aspects of their lives. However, sometimes they need your guidance. When you recognise their individual learning styles, you will become better equipped to make learning a rewarding experience for your child. Find out how.

Thursday, February 02, 2012

Your Learning Style and School Writing Assignments

How often has your teacher told you to plan your writing assignment? It may have been a Pie Chart tool, or a List tool, or a fancy Head-And-Legs tool, but whatever it's called, whatever its shape, its purpose is clear: a story plan.

The trouble is, some people don't get inspiration from story plans. If your Learning Style is Holistic, you're not a planner. Asking you to plan your story before you put pen to paper (or fingers on keyboard) is as productive as asking you to squeeze a piece of coal in your fist until you get a diamond.

"Start at the beginning", is another favourite bit of writing advice. All very good for people whose Learning Style is Analytic. Analytic information processors like starting at the beginning and progressing step by detailed step to the logical conclusion.
Are you a Holistic or an Analytic writer? Find out here.