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This is part two of a three-part article on learning styles.

Do you prefer watching a performance rather than just listening?   Are your children distracted by movement around them when they are working on their schoolwork?  Would your spouse rather write an email than make a phone call?  If you answered yes to any of these, there is a visual learner in your family.

When trying to spot a visual learner, try these “tells”. When a visual learner is deep in thought, they will generally look up or stare straight ahead.  And whatever emotion they are feeling will be easily recognized by their facial expressions.  If given a choice of activities, they will often choose a movie, television, or reading.  They may also want to go to a museum or zoo where there are things to watch.  They even use visual language-“do you see what I mean?”

Introducing a visual learner to a new experience can be best done by allowing them time to observe the surroundings/situation before expecting them to dive in and participate.   (They can often be considered shy, as they will want to stand back and observe before participating. Give them time.  They’ll let you know when they are ready.)   Facial expressions, body language, etc. are read automatically.  They can pick out the leader of the group, the trouble-maker, and anyone who is uncomfortable as they enter a new environment. They are masters at picking up visual cues from people in a group setting or one-on-one, and using that information to their advantage.

When a visual learner is angry, they will often say nothing; they do not need to-you can read it on their face.  When they are excited, they grin and their whole face lights up!  No words necessary.  Rewards come in the form of making their work and your approval easily seen-post things on the fridge, smile at them, use stickers and stamps, send their work to family and friends.

Some of the most successful tools for teaching visual learners include:

  • maps
  • posters
  • pictures/drawings
  • dvds
  • collages/mobiles
  • time lines
  • American Sign Language