Connecting Columbia Union Seventh-day Adventists

What is Your Child’s Learning Style?

Dr. Brewer Dr. Brewer

Knowing the four primary learning styles is one of the best things a parent can do to help their child in school says Gene Brewer, PhD, who recently retired as the Southern Union’s development specialist.

by V. Michelle Bernard

The Styles

  • Type 1: Innovative Learners are primarily interested in personal meaning in the learning process.  They need to know the reason for learning, ideally reasons that connect new information with personal experiences, says Brewer. They want to know how this information can be useful in their daily lives, he says.

Recommended study tools: Cooperative learning, brainstorming and integrated subjects, like science with social studies. Type 1 students need time to reflect on the topic and thrive when building trust through interpersonal interactions.

  • Type 2: Analytic Learners want to acquire facts to deepen their understanding of concepts and processes.

Recommended study tools: These students enjoy lectures, independent research, analyzing data and hearing what “experts” have to say. They look at their assignments through a step-by-step approach and need deadlines.

  • Type 3: Common Sense Learners want to know how things work, and want to “get in and try it” says Brewer.

Recommended study tools: Common sense learners want concrete, hands-on learning activities.  Try to find ways to make what they are studying relevant to their lives says Brewer.

  • Type 4: Dynamic Learners rely heavily on their own intuition and seek to teach both themselves and others.

Recommended study tools: They enjoy independent study, simulations, role play and games.

Photograph from ThinkStock. Join our Facebook chat on Adventist Education on Tuesday, March 18 at Noon. | | Photograph from ThinkStock.

Realizing and integrating these styles into your child’s study habits can help them shine in activities that tap into their primary learning style. However, this doesn’t mean parents should avoid activities beyond the student’s comfort zone.

It is good for students to participate in activities in the opposite learning style, too, says Brewer. “In school, students may not learn in their preferred way of learning, but if they know that at some point their way of learning will be honored, they can do it and will grow,” says Brewer. Knowing your child’s learning style can impact more than just classroom success says Brewer. He recalls getting to know the conflict-filled family of one of his Sligo Adventist Elementary school (Takoma, Park, Md.) students when he served as principle there in the 1990s.

Brewer led a Home and School session on learning styles in which the father realized he was an analytic learner, and his daughter, who he was having the conflict with, was the opposite style, a dynamic learner. The father realized he didn’t experience the same conflict with his older daughter, also an analytic learner, and changed the way he related to his daughter and helped her with homework.

A month later Brewer was handed a note from the mother of the family saying, “You won’t believe how much peace and harmony has come into our home since we understand the learning differences.“

Brewer comments, “To me, that is the even bigger point than making good grades.”

Join the Visitor’s panel of education experts Tuesday, March 18, at noon, to discuss why Seventh-day Adventist education is still worth the investment. We will also share tips on how to help your child succeed, no matter what school they attend. Click here to join the chat!

Read these other articles from the March 2014 Visitor:


Interesting theory...I must say that, growing up, my learning style incorporated all four types. Sure, there may have been a style or two which were my favorites; but, I incorporated all four into my studies based upon preference and what was best suited to the situation and subject. I don't clearly see how any individual can characterized by only one of these learning styles.

Al, Dr. Brewer also mentioned that people are not just one style (similar to the common personalities). But it often happens that they will have one that they identify with most.

That is great that you learned through all four types!

It's too bad that more of our schools can't accommodate these different learning styles.

A growing number are, Mary. Have you seen these articles?: &

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