My son does not learn with words, but with images - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 9 Old 03-29-2010, 07:12 PM - Thread Starter
 
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My son is an extremely visual-spacial learner. An example: last week he asked me how the winter turns into spring. I said "I can't explain it (with words), I will show you." I took a scrap of paper, drew a circle in the center and said "this is the sun." Then I drew a smaller circle and said "this is the earth." Then I drew an elliptical shape around the sun. Without a second to even explain, my son immediately pointed at the furthest end of the ellipse and said "this is winter." I said "yes". He understood the whole thing right away, that the furthest part would be the coldest, and therefore winter. Then he wanted to know where on the ring we were right now, where easter was, when was our trip to california, his birthday, his sisters birthday...

This story is not particularly special or profound. What is important about this story, is that if I had told him, with words, how the winter turns to spring, he would not have understood at all. If I had read him something from a book, he would not have understood. It is because I drew the question that he understood.

My son gets his visual-spacial learning style from me. But being educated in the states, at a rigid catholic school many years ago, with a huge emphasis on memorization and verbal only learning, I did not do well. Something was obviously wrong with me that I could draw advanced mazes and write elegant poetry at 8, but I was too lazy to memorize my multiplication tables.... Nothing was wrong with me. 35 years ago no one knew about asynchronous development or visual-spacial learning.

My question is - do they know about it today? Are schools and teachers aware of visual-spacial learning styles, as well as the more typical auditory-sequential learning? Is subject matter taught by talking, reading, memorization...? Or by doing - by hands on projects, by drawing diagrams....? Are teachers able to be flexible with the diversity of their students?

I know it will depend on the specific teacher, school.... I'm asking in more general terms. I guess I am asking if it has gotten better?
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#2 of 9 Old 03-29-2010, 07:36 PM
 
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In my experience schools teach in multiple methods to try & reach EVERY child's learning style.
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#3 of 9 Old 03-29-2010, 07:51 PM
 
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Yes. When I went through my credential program there was a HUGE emphasis on multiple learning styles.
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#4 of 9 Old 03-29-2010, 07:54 PM
 
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I can't say if all teachers get it, but some do. I think that they do when they have at least some V/S strengths. In our limited experience, I think that many teachers have an inkling what VSL's are, but not necessarily always what they need or how to identify them. It depends on the school, too. We had ds at a Reggio Emilia inspired school where visual representation of learning was highly prized and that met some of his needs.

And if you ever need resources to help a teacher understand, here's a great site:
http://www.visualspatial.org/

Laura - Mom to ds (10) and dd (7) "Time stands still best in moments that look suspiciously like ordinary life." Brian Andreas.

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#5 of 9 Old 03-30-2010, 08:44 AM
 
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But...

That's not why or when seasons are. The earth is actually closest to the sun in the northern hemisphere's winter (but not really by much- earth's orbit is nearly circular). Considering that when it is winter in the northern hemisphere it is summer in the southern, the "furthest part would be the coldest, and therefore winter" explanation really doesn't make sense.

It's actually the tilt of the Earth's axis with respect to the sun which gives the temperature changes we experience...

Unschooling mama to DD1, 11/2001
and DD2, 11/2004
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#6 of 9 Old 03-30-2010, 08:50 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AllisonR View Post
My son is an extremely visual-spacial learner. An example: last week he asked me how the winter turns into spring. I said "I can't explain it (with words), I will show you." I took a scrap of paper, drew a circle in the center and said "this is the sun." Then I drew a smaller circle and said "this is the earth." Then I drew an elliptical shape around the sun. Without a second to even explain, my son immediately pointed at the furthest end of the ellipse and said "this is winter." I said "yes".

But that's not right..... Edit -- I see Eris caught this. I would hope someone named Eris would understand such things.

I find a lot of DD's education revolves around v-s learning. With easier access to visual teaching aids, it gets a lot easier.
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#7 of 9 Old 03-30-2010, 03:00 PM
 
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I think most teachers know about and work with different learning styles these days. You can also frequently get your local school's textbooks at the library so you could look through them and see if they describe things in a way that works for your ds.

My limited memory of elementary textbooks is that they had lots of diagrams and illustrations.

And if you find that there's a subject or two that isn't done well in the text book, and for some reason the teacher has trouble getting a picture of it, there's always the internet: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EzEAnYQISno
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#8 of 9 Old 03-30-2010, 03:03 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Eris View Post
But...

That's not why or when seasons are. The earth is actually closest to the sun in the northern hemisphere's winter (but not really by much- earth's orbit is nearly circular). Considering that when it is winter in the northern hemisphere it is summer in the southern, the "furthest part would be the coldest, and therefore winter" explanation really doesn't make sense.

It's actually the tilt of the Earth's axis with respect to the sun which gives the temperature changes we experience...
:

I had the same thought when I read the op.

I am currently in a special/elementary ed program and we spend a lot of time talking about Gardener's Multiple Intelligences and how to incorporate as many as possible into each lesson/unit
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#9 of 9 Old 03-31-2010, 09:56 AM
 
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IME, a lot of schools and teachers still tend to use a lot of auditory-sequential methodology. Part of it is tradition and familiarity. Part of it is that many teachers are auditory learners themselves, so they use what comes naturally to them. I think some of them just don't comprehend visual-spatial learning. They may have a bit of the theory, but it's a little like asking a fish to breathe in air instead of water.

Although I think there is still a bias in the schools, there is real effort by many teachers to incorporate a lot of visual-spatial learning. I think it has improved. I've seen a lot of use of visual aids, hands-on demonstrations, projects etc. My kids have done video documentary reports instead of written papers, for example. Since you are aware of your child's strengths, you'll be able to advocate for him and make sure that his learning style is respected.
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