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Kinaesthetic Learner aged 7

(10 Posts)
ragsoscar Sat 25-Jun-11 13:40:30

My daughter is struggling learning to read, but is good with numbers. She became a bit of a pest in class so the teacher (unbeknown to me until recently) has made her sit on a mat - in other words pinned her to the spot. Whilst I can see some sense in this it goes against all the principles of teaching a kinaesthetic learner. Do I insist she no longer uses this mat? There are 4 other children who sit on mats who are generally viewed as "naughty" My daughter also now consideres herself to be a naughty one. The teacher says her concentration has improved by sitting on this mat but I suspect that it could be more to her benefit than my daughters. Any view would be very welcome

LIZS Sat 25-Jun-11 13:52:51

Could it be she is using a move n sit cushion which is designed to help concentration by subtly responding to restlessness ? tbh if she is struggling to read at age 7 it may be time to consider other ways of helping her beyond the learning style. Are you in UK? If so, make an appointment with the school SENCO and request she has an IEP (Individual Education Plan) with speicific targets and defining how school and you can help her achieve them.

ragsoscar Sat 25-Jun-11 15:32:44

Hi, thanks.
Mat is actually a carpet sample cut in half. I am going down the senco route but was met with "we don't have any funding...and... if we can arrange something it will take a long time and we don't test for dyslexia(her Dad is dyslexic)
What makes me most cross is that the teacher did'nt consult me about the mat, nor inform me that she had done it. I found out from one of Gabys schoolfriends who was laughing at her for sitting on a naughty mat. I have a neighbour who is a teacher who is going to coach Gaby in school holidays and the advantage is that she is also just doing trianing in special needs teaching.

Mowlem Sat 25-Jun-11 16:43:56

You do realise of course that the jury is still very much out on learning styles? Professor John Geke for example has produced an interesting study called 'Vak or Vakuous" in which he considers the fact that 'kinaesthic learning' is a load of old baloney. Indeed, my college has recently abandoned the whole VAK styles due to other studies which seriously undermine the whole theory. So I wouldn't base your argument on that at all. I don't think you can reliably justify your daughter's behaviour on her 'learning style' and think actually you are confusing the whole learning style theory full stop.

I also think you are confusing the two issues here (behaviour and problems learning to read), whilst almost certainly connected, you do need to look at both not just one, maybe I'm reading your post wrong, but you do seem to be dismissing the problem of her behaviour. Obviously, her behaviour will affect her progress, but in turn her behaviour may well be caused by her lack of progress.

I think if I were in your position I would approach the school and ask how you could work with the school to support your daughter in improving both her behaviour and her learning. I think this would be more likely to keep the teacher on side, and would be more profitable.

That said, I agree that I don't like the idea of having the mats just for selected children. I would say to the school that your daughter feels it is a naughty mat, and she feels as though she has been 'picked on' because of it. I would probably request that if they work, that all children are given mats (that is what they used to do at my daughter's preschool - you can get old samples from carpet shop for free).

Good luck with it, I hope you find a way forward for your daughter.

LIZS Sat 25-Jun-11 17:28:29

ds is about to move to a school which very much focusses on individual learning styles so am reluctant to believe there is nothing in theory behind it! However I'd say 7 is probably too young to assume that is the reason for the behaviour and issues your dd is displaying. Can you afford to have an assessment privately or ask gp to refer if SENCO won't do so ?

Panzee Sat 25-Jun-11 17:33:33

If your child is a kinaesthetic learner she needs more help in her 'weaker' styles. Please don't pigeonhole her so she doesn't feel able to read (visual) or listen (aural). If you believe in all that gubbins.

Which I clearly don't. grin

freerangeeggs Sat 25-Jun-11 22:31:09

I came to say what Mowlem said. All the studies I've looked at suggest that the idea of visual/auditory/kinaesthetic learning styles is a load of made-up rubbish, which is somewhat embarrassing for the teaching profession which seems to have embraced these ideas uncritically.

I don't think the teacher is thinking of the benefit to herself - I think she's more likely to be thinking about the benefit to the other children in the class. If your daughter is a 'pest' as you say then she'll be disrupting the learning of a large number of other children, as well as her own.

It sounds like the teacher has found a strategy that works. I don't think you can complain unless you can come up with a more effective system. Basing your criticism on non-arguments like learning styles is going to be counter-productive.

By all means have a discussion with the teacher but make sure you're open minded. The teacher knows what she's doing better than you, I'm afraid.

confidence Sat 25-Jun-11 23:21:10

I also agree with Mowlem. Here's an example of the critique of Learning Styles theory:

http://www.psychologicalscience.org/journals/pspi/PSPI_9_3.pdf

Note that noone's suggesting that children don't have different preferences about how information is presented to them. There just seems to be no real evidence that their ability to absorb and retain that information aligns with those preferences, in the three-way pattern that the theory suggests.

qumquat Sun 26-Jun-11 12:55:22

The VAK learning styles theory has been braodly discredited, as others have mentioned. As teachers we are still expected to consider it, mainly because Ofsted inspectors love to grab onto a trendy idea despite the mounting evidence that it's complete nonsense.

In the end, to progress at school and in society your DC will need to learn not to be 'kinaesthetic' all the time; the teacher should be helping her to be still when needed and also allow her to move when appropriate.

IndigoBell Sun 26-Jun-11 15:57:12

A move n sit cushion is an excellent idea. Why don't you buy one yourself and bring it into school.

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