We started last week on a short series about Learning Modalities—visual, auditory, and kinesthetic—three routes by which new information can be received by our brains. Though we may use any of these different routes, it is helpful to know that there will always be one that is easiest for our own brain. And, when a student is struggling to learn something new, knowing about these 3 different routes to the brain will give us insights and ideas on how to help them.
Today, let's consider the person who most easily learns new information when it is presented visually. This is the one who needs to look at a book, a map, a diagram, a blueprint—anything that let's them use their eyes to receive the information.
When my husband took a job as an estimator with a brick mason, he had to learn all of the different designs and styles of brickwork offered by this company. The only problem was that, because the owner of the company kept vocally describing the various brickwork as they walked around current job sites, all the new information was coming in his ears rather than his eyes.
After a few days spent unsuccessfully trying to keep all the patterns straight, Bill finally asked the owner, "Do you have a book that shows all these different styles?" With a puzzled expression, he shrugged and said, "Well, I guess there's the union handbook for masons. . ."
Bill took the book home that night to study, and the next morning he walked confidently up to the owner on the job. Without any hesitation, he successfully identified all the different patterns of brickwork. The owner's jaw dropped open, and in amazement he asked, "You got all of that from a BOOK????"
This scenario took place between two adults. Can you imagine a child trying to sort out why it is difficult to remember all of the information you just vocally presented? It won't happen, will it? The child will struggle, you may become increasingly frustrated, and the overall experience will leave both of you wondering what's wrong with him or her. That's when knowing this information becomes powerful!