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How To Outwit Your Teenager

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Do You Know Your Child’s Learning Style? (More Importantly, Does The School?)

June 7th, 2009 · 2 Comments


My teenage son is a visual learner. His third grade teacher discovered this when she found that he required visual cues in order to follow instructions. So while the rest of the class could take in her verbal explanation, my son only knew what to do once she also wrote it out on the whiteboard.

He changed school the following year and I alerted the school and each teacher to the fact that he is a visual learner. Seven years on and I wish that I’d been one of those mums who stamps their fist at the school’s door on a regular basis. I assumed that individual learning style would be catered for at his school. But clearly it hasn’t been and I’m now left trying to work out how I help get my son through the final years of high school and into an academic position where he can get into his choice of university course.

We’d always assumed he was lazy. Certainly he seemed bored with school and lacking interest in most subjects. I took him to a study skills expert recently to see if she could teach him how to retain the information required to get him through his exams. She determined that he retained information best when images were involved. And she added that she doubted he was lazy – rather missing the information required to know what to do. As a result, he was probably checking out when faced with confusion.

According to a report on Science Daily visual learners tend to convert words into pictures in the brain.

Therefore, it stands to reason that if they are missing words presented to them verbally, they don’t have a hope in hell of retaining that information.

The high school teaching method leans heavily toward verbal instructions. I recall one of my son’s science teachers expressing dismay that when she talked he looked at her with a blank expression. And then she became frustrated when he didn’t ask her any questions even though it was clear he hadn’t understood what she was saying. Yes, I’m paying big fees for this insightful teaching.

Next term my son gets to choose his HSC subjects and once he does I’ll be putting my jack boots on and heading down to the school to ensure that his visual learning style is indulged for the next two years. It seems the least that I can do for him.

Tags: Education · Motivation

2 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Amandah // Jan 11, 2012 at 4:38 am

    Great post! My nephew is bored in school like I was; his IQ is about 140. He’s been pushed into AP classes but is still bored. In my opinion, his AP classes seem more like ‘regular’ classes. My nephew’s so bored with school that he wants to graduate next year. He’d rather go to a trade school or college than be in high school because he believes it will be more challenging.

  • 2 GUnner // Jan 6, 2015 at 12:11 am

    I was drawn by the hotnesy of what you write

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