How to identify your child’s learning style for exam revision?

It’s exam revision season, and I ask my child to revise 30 minutes on an e-learning platform, encouraging to write principal points along the way of the revision. The child decides to be smarty pants about it and says ‘my learning style is visual so don’t need to write down.’ Thank God for the knowledge of teaching, my response was ‘I am aware of the different learning styles and happy you are aware of your’s, but you still need to write down what you see in your words for better understanding’. I went on to say “you can use a mind map to draw out and map out your points.” All these were said in my best possible sarcastic mum voice.

However, I was very proud that the child identifies with an appropriate learning style. This got me thinking, how many parents can determine their child’s learning style? Having had the opportunities to teach, lecture and be an educator for several years, learners struggle to revise appropriately for exams because they have not identified their learning style. It should be said, learning style is not age restricted, and it can change over the years. A child can move from one style of learning at any stage of development and can also identify better ways of revising for exams. The critical point is, at any particular stage of the development of a child, a parent can ensure to recognise their child’s learning style and encourage it as a technique for learning.

There are several types of learning styles but the three main ones I will focus on are: listening, touching and seeing.

  • Listen: this is also identified as auditory. Children that fall into this learning style need to pay attention to what is being said. They hear and listening to the information and can retain it. When it comes to revision, these children can benefit from listening to podcast of the topic of their choice. Listening to music, of their choice, while revising can also be beneficial to these children. This is why some children can carry out verbal instructions and task better than other children because their strength lie in audio learning style.
  • Touch: customarily identified as kinesthetic or physical learning style. Children that fall into this bracket revise better with activities that are practical and hands on. Such activities can include tabletop games, problem-solving activities and task that require real or life experience. Children can either be descriptive or use a bullet point technique when taking down revision notes for an exam. Flash cards, puzzles and quizzes may come handy during revision. Tactile objectives are also beneficial.
  • See: children that fall within visual/sight learning style are observant of details. Descriptive writing and creative writing is at play here as they will write down, in details, what was observed. Children will enjoy revision with picture books, documentary. Reading can be a vital part of these children as they can use their creative eye to visualise the outcome. Mind maps and visual boards are also excellent exam revision techniques.

Children learn differently and have own mechanism that they use to revise for an exam. However, all learning styles can be used intermediately and across the board. Applying a set rule is not suggested because a child may learn better using the visual learning style on a particular subject but when another topic is introduced the listening technique works better.

NOTE: Parents should note that many technological resources can be used to make learning fun and engaging for their child. This should be taken advantage to the fullest.

Being An Intentional Parent

The word ‘intentional’ has been on my mind for several weeks. It means being deliberate, calculated or conscious. In the time, space and environment we presently live in, I believe as parents we have to be intentional towards our children; otherwise, several mundane things will take up our time. As I stroll through the different social media platforms, I see how easy it is to be distracted and allow what is visual govern the mind. You must make up your mind to:

  • Be intentional about speaking with your child.
  • Be intentional about listening to your child.
  • Be intentional about engaging with your child.
  • Be intentional about playing with your child.
  • Be intentional about being firm with your child.
  • Be intentional about showing love to your child.
  • Be intentional about the wellbeing of your child.
  • Be intentional about helping your child to learn.
  • Be intentional about being consistent with your child.
  • Be intentional about taking a family break with your child.

There are many distractions in society today, and this does not exempt the family. Severally, I have been approached to take on more demanding professional position. However, I weigh it against my work-life balance because I am intentional as a parent not to have the scale tip over. It is understandable that not everyone may be in a position to pick and chose when to make income; however, the ability to be intentional ensures we as parents give it a second thought before going ahead with a decision. Being a parent does not always come easy, but, the act of being intentional helps develop the culture of family principles and ethos that the children can later appreciate.

Manufactured Educators

On a particular day, I was on the train going to a meeting in London. A group of primary school children got on the train in Mile End. One of them had a visual impairment and guided by an adult whom I believe is the teacher. Three of the children sat on my left side, and one of them decided to pick the newspaper to read.

educationTo my surprise, the teacher told him to stop reading the paper and to put it down. From his body language/observation, the boy wanted to ask why but said ‘yes Miss’. While I was giving the teacher the cold look of why?; that’s how you make a child display disruptive behaviour, and holding back my tongue. Another adult supervising the children noticed this child putting the paper down but encouraged him to go on reading. The boy said ‘Miss told me to put it down.’ This adult turned to the teacher and asked my thoughtful question, why? Her response, ‘we can not control the content in the newspaper.’ The other adult said, ‘oh’. My thoughts responded, ‘are you kidding me.’ At this time of the morning, 95% of the newspaper in the train carriage is metro. This got me thinking about the political correctness of the education system and wanting to put filters in every area of it. If the children were disruptive with the newspaper, this action by the teacher would be justified. What happened to;

  • Asking the child, what are you reading?
  • Having a look at the newspaper before concluding on the action to take.
  • Directing the child to a more child-friendly page.
  • Engaging the child in educational discussion linked to the curriculum.

What is happening in education? I seem to be getting more dissolution with manufactured educators and the deteriorating of common sense in education. OR am I wrong?

The Act of Skin Discrimination in Children

It is a well-known fact that children do not learn how to discriminate or do they identify with skin colour discrimination. Mostly, children under the age of five doing discriminate based on the colour of the skin. Specifically, children under the age of three years, do not know what colour discrimination is because they do not see the skin colour difference. It can be augured that this is based on a child growing up in a mixed and diverse environment of skin colour. This argument can also be built on a child who has not been groomed or reared to identify skin colour from a very young age.

How do children learn or pick up skin colour discrimination? Having worked with diverse children and families over the years, I can suggest that children learn skin discrimination consciously (directly) or unconsciously (indirectly) from their parents or selected career.

renny adejuwon|children mindChildren learn skin discrimination consciously from their parents/carers through:

  • Words: e.g. ‘why are you playing with that black child?’ ‘Do not play with that child, you are different and do not look like them.’
  • Actions: e.g. not inviting the brown skin children to birthday parties or not going to the white skin children birthday parties.

Children learn skin discrimination unconsciously from their parents/carers through:
Listening to adult conversations; e.g., ‘I do not want to send my child to that school because they have a majority of black children.’ ‘I don’t know why the school is taking in more ethnic minority children. They have come to take over.’ Watching how their parents react to adult with different ethnic background: e.g. excluding them from school events, ignoring them in a group conversation, wanting to shut them up or down during conversations, indicating their contribution is not important or relevant.

A conversation took place between a mother and her 10-year-old son:

SON: my friend told me I was treated badly by my teacher.
MUM: what do you mean?
SON: my friend say’s my teacher was racist towards me because he chooses only the Caucasian children to play for the football team.
MOTHER: that does not mean he is racist. Have you been chosen to play for the school football team before?
SON: Yes
MOTHER: so your teacher is giving other children the opportunity to play for the school team. Of cause, some people will treat you differently, brown skin or Caucasian, but be aware that people are either good or bad not the colour of their skin.
SON: my class teacher is white, and she treats me nice and is fair.
MOTHER: you see, it is the person that matters not the colour of the skin. There are brown skin people, who also badly treat other people.

The conversation above could have been so different between the mother and her son. The mother had the opportunity to teach an entirely different seed of thought into her son, but instead, she gave a balanced approach to human behaviour rather than the colour of the human skin.

skin discriminationIn the movie 42, there was a scene where one of the characters, Pee Wee Reese, thanked the main character, Jackie Robinson, for helping get over his bias of skin colour discrimination. This scene took place in one of the many baseball stadiums used in the movie. However, on this occasion, a boy was sitting in the crowd with his daddy. When the dad and the crowd started chanting racist words towards the main character, who is the only brown skin player of the baseball team, the boy just copied his father. The character Pee Wee went on to hug Jackie Robinson and shook his hands. This action stopped some of the crowd from shouting out racist words. In particular, the boy’s face changed like he was thinking about his actions and why he copied his dad in the first instance.

This sense happens consciously or unconsciously in everyday life between parents and their children. If it is not challenged, it tends to grow and develop, and the seed of skin discriminations continues from one generation to the next. It still baffles me how a person can just be judged based on the colour of their skin; I do not get it. Watch your behaviour and your mouth around your children, as the saying goes, action speaks louder than words.

END NOTE: skin discrimination crosses ethnic, cultural or country boundaries.

Is Home Schooling an Option?

It has been said that home schooling gives parents more control over the influences that affect their children. With home schooling, a parent alone can decide what the child needs to do or learn. Tailoring the teaching program to suit the lifestyle, needs and interests of the child are among the most obvious options for home schooling. A child that is home schooled has the benefit of focusing more hours to the subject that may be difficult without additional pressure. Learning time is spread out based on the needs, abilities and interests of the child. The child receives more quality time in a familiar and homely environment, free from peer pressure and making choices and decisions based on needs.

Competition is great for children, but when it comes to home schooling, this is limited or does not occur. This is also the case of interaction with peer groups. When it comes to teaching style, home schooling is very one way centred. Teaching is always focused on how children learn best, which can be great. However, it reduces the child’s ability to process information in different ways that the child is not used to. A child that learns through moving objects or kinesthetic may find it challenging processing information that may include discussion or social activity.

home schooling| rent adejuwonWhen children are home schooled it allows parents the control over the moral, beliefs and ideologies instilled in their child. From a parent’s standpoint, this ensures there is no confusion in the child’s mind and no variation between what is being taught and what is being practised.

Schools are an excellent environment for children to develop different views, interact and learn something different outside their circle. However, parents that opt for home schooling are disillusioned with the system. They believe that children are being pushed too hard or too little. However, when children are in an excellent school system, they are welcome to try different experiences, activities, discipline and ethics.

There are pros and cons of homeschooling your child. Is it an option? Yes, it is if you have the time, lifestyle, finances, ability and interest to follow through with the education. After all, nobody can understand or appreciate your child as much as you.