The VARK Model - Different Learning Styles of Children

The VARK model – one of the most referred learning models to date. Developed in 1992 by Neil Fleming, the VARK model divides the world's population into four different types of learners based on their predominant learning style - visual, auditory (or aural), read-write, and kinesthetic. Over the years, schools have tried to develop curricula that draw upon each aspect so children across the learning spectrum can benefit.

So, what does visual, audio, reading and kinesthetic even mean? How do we know which modal we prefer? Moreover, how can we utilise this knowledge to help kids perform better at school and improve their English?

Read on for answers to these questions and find out which modal you (or your child) is!

VISUAL Visual - relating to seeing or sight

What is it? Visual learners learn best when information is depicted in charts, mind maps, flow charts and graphs instead of words. Pictures do not actually fall under this category, as pictures aren't able to convey a full idea or explanation and are simply used to highlight a piece of information. However, visual cues are the most effective and those with an affinity for visual learning will find it easier to learn when visually stimulated such as through videos.

What are the best techniques for learning English?

Mind maps

  • For visual learners, drawing out mind maps when thinking of ideas for writing is a great for jotting down points and further elaborating on ideas

  • When memorizing, mind maps allow large amounts of information to be condensed into an easy-to-visualise format.

Colour coding

  • Highlighting key words and colour coding helps with memory and organisation

  • Colour coding helps create links between different ideas

Flashcards

  • Whilst this kind of learner tends to steer away from rote learning, flashcards are a good tool by providing visual cues, especially when combined with pictures and colour coding

  • Commonly used to teach phonics and to memorise new words

AUDIOTORY or AURAL Audiotory/aural - related to the sense of hearing

What is it? Auditory learners learn best through audio or information that is "heard or spoken". Those who prefer auditory learning do best listening to talks, lectures and having group discussions. When rote learning, they find things easier to memorise when listening to recordings, reading things aloud or by teaching a friend. Repetition is surprisingly effective with this learner!

What are the best techniques for learning English?

TV dramas, movies, YouTube videos

  • Auditory learners lucked out in the learning department! By watching English TV dramas, movies or YouTube videos, these learners can quickly develop their pronunciation, accent, vocabulary and even grammar whilst also having plenty of fun

Having English conversations

  • Using English every day helps develop confidence and overall language ability

  • Kids can learn from each other whilst also building up their friendship!

READ-WRITE

What is it? When learning English, readers are self-explanatory - they learn the easiest through reading. Reading and writing methods are utilised the most in education systems, an ideal example being textbooks. This learning mode revolves around written information and those who prefer this modality enjoy learning through written explanation, whether through books, manuals or the Internet.

What are the best techniques for learning English?

Reading books

  • Getting into the habit of reading is an excellent lifelong hobby

  • Builds grammar, vocabulary, critical thinking and elaboration.

  • There’s something for everyone - fiction and non-fiction, from epic fantasies to everyday news!

Note-taking and re-reading notes

  • One of the most common ways of studying, note-taking as it combines reading information and writing it down.

KINESTHETIC Kinesthetic - learning through feeling such as a sense of body position and muscle movement

What is it? Kinesthetic learners absorb information best by carrying out physical activities such as through games or doing demonstrations. Their hands-on approach to learning can also extend to watching videos of demonstrations and even discussion or writing a plan. Kinesthetic learners will benefit long as an assignment is grounded and requires action, so they can visualise what needs to be done. Incorporating some form of action into learning kinesthetic learners absorb information quicker.

What are the best techniques for learning English?

Drama

  • Dramas are an excellent way for kinesthetic learners to absorb information as it incorporates the use of imagination, action and teamwork

  • Dramas are a fun way to build memorization skills and confidence in using English

Games

  • There are plenty of games suited for kinesthetic learners to improve on their English. Check out some here.

Any kind of action!

  • When learning phonics, students can incorporate actions such as hitting an imaginary egg on the side of a bowl when pronouncing ‘eh’ for letter E

It is important to remember that each modality overlaps. Taking notes touches upon kinesthetic (physically writing the notes) and reading/writing (reading a textbook, writing notes, re-reading notes) and after that, reading them aloud combines both reading, auditory and kinesthetic (speaking). Life is multi-modal and regardless of which learning style you have an affinity for, the more cues, the easier the memory recall and hence faster learning.

Interested in finding out more? Check out the official VARK website! You can also find questionnaires to find out which modality you are. Comment down below which learning style you prefer and any learning techniques you have!


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