In One Ear…

…and out the other. Remember that saying? Unfortunately, that’s almost completely true for visual learners. Auditory learners, on the other hand, could probably say “In one eye and out the other” with as much accuracy. I hadn’t thought of it before, but learning style is a part of everything we do, not just academic work. Learning style affects creative expression in art and music, and doubtless, affects which of the two we find more compelling.

The difference between auditory and visual learning styles was ever so clear to me last night as our family got together to practice a song for a camp-out this weekend. My auditory learner chose the song, “Then Came the Morning” from a Churchmen CD, and we have all been singing it casually for awhile. Unfortunately, we couldn’t find an arrangement we liked in the key we needed, so we just gave the CD to my daughter-in-law so she could create an accompaniment. When she arrived last night with the words to the chorus scribbled on a piece of notebook paper with chords noted above, I realized she must be an auditory learner as well– especially when the accompaniment she played sounded just like the accompaniment on the CD.

So we started to practice with nothing but the words to sing from. And guess what? I’m a visual learner. I like to sight-read what I’m singing. I can hear just fine, but I want to SEE where I’m going. My husband and oldest son are auditory learners, and were quite content to swap parts, try all sorts of harmony, and shuffle us around for the best balance of sound. Me? I just stood there clutching the words, singing my part quietly, and wishing that notes would materialize so that I could enjoy the whole process and feel more confident!

The experience reminded me how critical it is to provide a wide range of learning experiences for children. Traditional schools tend to be geared more toward visual learners, so auditory and kinesthetic children sometimes struggle. Sadly, some have such difficulty that they are labeled and drugged, which is tragic.

At home, we have the option of shaping our environment and expectations to meet the needs of our children. In many areas, we can let the auditory ones learn by listening, the visual ones learn by reading, and the kinesthetic ones learn by doing. No one is wholely a single learning style, so sharing knowledge in more than one way is helpful to all. If you can provide a home environment that nourishes the mind and spirit with books, art, and music, you’ll help each of your children learn and grow as they need to.

As for our song, it will probably sound fine- it usually does. I know the accompaniment will be beautiful, anyway!

(But I still want the notes…)

Here’s a clip from a choir version of “Then Came the Morning.”

PS- I was tagged for the Thinking Blogger Award by Tamera Svanes, and I’m looking forward to tagging some of my favorites early next week. Blog memes are a wonderful way to find other thought-provoking bloggers!

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