By Heather McMillan
Everyone has a mix of learning styles. Some people may find that they have a dominant style of learning, with far less use of the other styles. Here is a list of the seven learning styles and how We Choose Virtues is tailored to address them (we actually add one more!)
· Visual (spatial): You prefer using pictures, images, and spatial understanding. Our Illustrations are intentionally fun and attractive to kids. The colors create a mapping system to a certain Virtue so they can find it easily. Objects are employed to reinforce the use of the virtue, and the Virtue Kids are multi-cultural so no one feels alienated from the community of VirtueVille. All these visuals help even non-readers to feel like they are able to participate.
· Aural (auditory-musical): You prefer using sound and music. We have a music CD in the works to meet the very important needs of aural learners, which most of us are! Another way we address this is through the repetition of our catchphrases until they become auditory cues that the kids hear in their own head as they come across the need for them.
· Verbal (linguistic): You prefer using words, both in speech and writing. We Choose Virtues is a language. Just like in any culture, the language is what ties everyone together. Language is the vehicle that transfers the value system from one person to another. Our Catchphrases are clear, accurate and positive so that they become a staple in every-day conversation. Each Virtue begins with the phrase “I am”: “I am honest”, for example. This important language cue helps the learner personalize the virtue and claim ownership and responsibility for it, especially when they say it over and over again.
· Physical (kinesthetic): You prefer using your body, hands and sense of touch. We call this part of our system “demonstrations”, and without them I don’t think we would have a prayer. (We ALWAYS have a prayer, but you know what I mean!) Get the kids up off the floor, out of their chair, and practice being helpful, diligent, and perseverant! It is the practice that gives them an emotional relationship to that virtue. They try, they fail, they try again, they grow and love how it feels. It becomes something they have experienced personally. They know HOW! We all have a bit of the kinesthetic learner in us. “Just let me try!” Our kids need this!
· Logical (mathematical): You prefer using logic, reasoning and systems. The We Choose Virtues system makes sense. The catchphrases and antonyms are clear and precise with no wasted words. The definitions are accurate. The logical thinker finds little to argue with. The Virtues address more than just an action, which logical thinkers tend to elevate, but also the right attitude. Logical learners are often very black and white. They need to see a standard that is constant, but doesn’t just point out the negative. It is healthy for them to see what they are doing RIGHT!
· Social (interpersonal): You prefer to learn in groups or with other people. We Choose Virtues is written for use in a group. It could be a group of two, a parent and a child, or a group of 100 like we see in our large Cambodian classrooms. Our tools are not meant to be handed to a child to learn on their own, but rather with a mentor, a teacher, a grandparent or a parent. We hesitated to create any seatwork at all because we feel that face to face instruction is so vital for the understanding of especially young children.
· Solitary (intrapersonal): You prefer to work alone and use self-study. Recently we did create a Virtue Kids Kit so that children can have their own set of Virtues and set their own goals and work on them in the privacy of their own special place. Ultimately, each person’s virtue is really a choice they must decide to make in their own heart. If a child doesn’t come to a decision to be honest, kind and obedient on their own, then they will not be honest, kind or obedient. Many children learn by making friends with the subject. I was very much this way. For example, the ducklings I was counting on my math page would all have a name before the page was ever finished. Our Kids of VirtueVille provide this “friendship” the solitary learner. Again, our Kids Kit has a “fan” poster so the child can have their own poster (11x17) of their favorite Kid from VirtueVille.
· Teaching: If I had to add an eighth learning style, I’d say it is a teacher. This is how I personally learn. I have asked dozens of children to get up and teach the Virtue and I am always amazed what they come up with and how it affects their own conviction to use that virtue. I absolutely believe in this method of learning and the Virtue tools were created so you can hand a teaching card to a three year old that has had some previous exposure to it and say “Why don’t you teach us this Virtue today?” Be ready for a smile!