Identify your individual learning style and see how easy it can be to learn something new like Ballroom or Latin dancing.
Have you ever tried to learn something fairly simple, yet failed to grasp the key ideas? Or tried to teach people and found that some were overwhelmed or confused by something quite basic? Most people can go their entire lives without ever questioning what their learning style is. That is until they start learning something outside their comfort zone, like how to dance. It’s a sad fact that most people who have tried and failed to learn to dance, have done so not because of their inability to learn, but because of the inability of the teacher to present the information to their style of learning. Knowing your learning style as a student can help you to know what questions to ask and what pieces of information to pay attention to when trying to learn. If you’re having trouble figuring out which style fits you best, take this QUIZ to help you along.
Visual: A majority by far, 50% of the world’s population are visual learners according to the National Institute of Health. If you are a man, that percentage is even higher (due to 75% of men being visual learners). Which means all those lectures you sat through in college only to find yourself spacing out, were not your fault at all! The fact is, most classroom settings really miss this mark. If you are a visual learner, it means that you understand best when material is drawn, demonstrated or visualized through analogy. For instance, if I were teaching you a Foxtrot basic, I would tell you that your feet make the shape of the number 7(for the man) or a capital L (for the lady) on the floor. This visual analogy helps to “see” what you’re trying to do, instead of figure it out. Visual learners tend to make pictures in their minds of how something will look. Usually visual learners are orderly and tidy they also notice body language and facial expressions. If you feel that you are a visual learner, ask your instructor to demonstrate new steps or technique. Ask for a “road map” drawn out for longer steps (especially smooth). Try to look for analogies that match what you’re doing, walking around a paint can (for spot turns), nailing your foot to the floor (for pivots), doing a backstroke (for smooth arm styling).
Auditory: 30% of people are classified as auditory learners, which means they learn best when they hear. That might be an explanation of a step, or it might be hearing the beat sung in slows and quicks. Auditory learners tend to hear the tempo and beats in the music easier than most. You might be good at playing music or learning foreign languages. The easiest way to learn for auditory learners is to be taught facts, to create small poems or songs T-A-NGO, or to have a step explained in a logical way, “walk around your partners right side, keeping her in your frame on your right side.” (You visuals probably just saw a picture in your mind of what that looked like.) Some tips for learning would be to ask your teacher to give you slows and quicks and you clap them along with the movement. This starts to align what you’re hearing with what you’re doing. You can also sing the slows and quicks along with the tempo of the music.
Tactile: The most surprising thing is that if you ask, most people would tell you that they are “hands on” learners or that they “learn by doing”. When in actuality only the smallest percentage at 20% are tactile or kinesthetic learners. If you are kinesthetic, you learn by the feel of something. You might like to take things apart and put them back together, you may enjoy sculpting or feeling different textures. Kinesthetic learners are attuned to their feelings, and movement helps you learn. You will probably learn faster knowing which muscle to use or how to feel when you’re standing split weight or over your standing foot. Some great questions to ask your teacher are if you should stretch or flex a muscle, which muscle you should use, or just let your teacher “take you for a ride” through a step.
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