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What's a "Learning Style?"

There are many ways to define "Learning Style" - everything from "the preferred style in which you learn" (www.learning-styles-online.com) to "different approaches or ways of learning" (www.LdPride.net). Here's how I've boiled it down for myself: A Learning Style is how a person optimally processes their world. How does someone understand information effectively?

We may each have a mix of each Learning Style in our processing capabilities - but we each have a dominant style that dramaticly affects how we break down information, communication and all the input that gets thrown at us daily. Though some educators find 6 or more styles, three are most commonly accepted:

1. Visual
2. Auditory
3. Kinesthetic

Here's a brief overview of how each Learning Style works, particularly as it relates to active music:

VISUAL: A visual learner needs visual cues - I use puppets, pictures, felt boards, drawings - anything that represents the topic at hand. If I am doing a song about ducks, just holding up a stuffed duck keeps my visual learners right with me as I describe what we'll be doing as ducks.

AUDITORY: During music class, the auditory learner is in heaven! They're getting their information through listening to verbal instruction, singing and discussion. They're listening differently to changes in my voice, tempo and pitch. One quack, and they're a duck!

KINESTHETIC: Children with this Learning Style have to see it, touch it, taste it, feel it, run it around the room, throw it against the wall, put it in their mouth, pants, armpits, take it apart, put it together - a Kinesthetic Learner has to have a physical relationship to their environment! Active music is great for this learner, as they'll get to touch props, use manipulatives, and move! PLEASE! THEY ARE NOT ADHD!!! This is just how they learn! You may find them to be "a handful" - but they're also a delight in their energy and up-close interest!

In any given group of people (read children), you will find all three Learning Styles. Active music can provide a stimulating and engaging learning experience for EVERYONE! If you've not thought about what your Learning Style is - do so! It affects how you teach, as well as how you learn!

- Carole