As a martial instructor, I see real differences in how people learn, especially children. It should come as no surprise that all children learn differently and although each child has their own unique way of learning, there are generally three styles: aural, visual, and kinaesthetic. People can learn primarily from one style or by a combination of all three.
Whilst each style can be explained in the context of martial arts teaching, these styles can be applied to anything - whether learning to play an instrument, a sport, reading or doing school work. The example I will use for each style is the teaching of a Hyung (Form) in Tang Soo Do - This is a prearranged pattern of movements that involve many techniques, turns and movements.
The Visual Learner
This type of person needs to see something in order to understand it and do it. An appropriate way to teach this person is to demonstrate something and then and have them follow your lead. For example, you do the first 2 movements of a Hyung and then have them follow you. Here, it is important to face the same direction as them and either be slightly in front of them or side by side. Mirrors can be a great tool when teaching in this way. We will all know people who can teach themselves something new by simply watching someone else do it.
The Aural Learner
This type of person follows directions well and needs to hear things in order to process them. An appropriate way to teach this person a Hyung is to practice it with them and at the same time give them instructions on what you are doing. For example, when teaching this type of person, as you perform the first motion of the Hyung say, ‘Take your left hand to your right ear, look to your left, step to your left with your left foot and execute a low block.’
The Kinaesthetic Learner
This type of learner is often the most challenging to teach something to. This person needs to ‘feel’ themselves doing it and need lots of repetition. Often times, you may need to physically touch the arm or leg that you want them to move. For example, when teaching a Hyung, after executing the first two motions you may need to touch the student’s right leg and right shoulder in order for them to move that leg and look over that shoulder.
So, how do you know what type of learner you have? There is no secret recipe unfortunately. The only way to know is to understand each style and how to teach using them, then see which style yields the best results. The brute force, trial and error method is the only way to go. Using a combination of all three in a class will make sure you cover the full spectrum of learners and accommodate those that learn by a combination of methods.
Be sure to observe your child in everyday situations as well as you can get some insight into their learning style. These styles are great to keep in mind when teaching children coordination type things like learning right versus left. Whilst you’re homeschooling, you’re going to face these challenges every single day, so a little bit of insight may go a long way.
Good luck team!
Based on a post by Master Elmore Oct 2020