Who ever would have thought that I would be defending the current president? Well buckle up, because I'm about to.
Actually, I'm not defending him. Today I am going to attempt to educate people about diverse learning styles.
I was reading an opinion piece from the washington post when I came across this. I like and respect the Washington Post, but this is not okay. This Comic Riff by Michael Cavna was published this morning at seven. It seems to poke fun at Trump because his team allegedly requested that intelligence briefings have more graphics and visuals because he claims to be an auditory and visual learner.
But my concern is that reading between the lines, it seems like Trump isn't the only one being made fun of here. To me, it seems like the author is implying that auditory and visual learners are dumb. And that is alarming.
When you scroll down and look at the comments (there are four at the time of this posting), two commenters have posted comments that are negative. They read as follows:
"There is nothing here that a third grade education couldn't fix."
"There is no such thing as a 'visual AND auditory learner.' What is being described is someone who can't read."
Both of these comments are making the conclusion that someone claiming to be an auditory and visual learner is actually under-educated or illiterate, but that is not the case.
In actuality there are diverse preferences of learning. The most recognized in the field of education are: Visual, Aural (auditory), Read-Write, and Kinesthetic. If you are curious where you fall, you can take a VARK assessment here. You can be any combination of learning styles, from only one mode to all four and any combination in between. Visual and Auditory learners DO exist.
As a peer educator in a university writing center, I spend a lot of time pondering how to help visual and kinesthetic learners improve their writing. School systems tend to target read-write and aural learners. I can tell you from first hand experience that having a less common learning style does not make you less intelligent.
If you are interested, my most recent results are: Visual 9, Aural 7, Read/Write 13, Kinesthetic 10. What surprised me the most was that visual was higher than aural. In the past, visual had been my lowest learning style.
In general, visual learners are found to be more rare (see VARK stats); however, due to the rise of infographics, I would hazard a guess that visual learners are more common than indicated by the VARK assessment. Visuals are often more intuitive to process and more approachable. You might not even finish this blog post because it would only appeal to my fellow reader-writer learners.
We are diverse people, with diverse learning styles. No style of learning should be treated as less intelligent because they are not.
Our world is a highly visual place, from print ad campaigns to videos and photographs on the news. The more senses you use to experience something, the more it sticks with you. Before written language developed, we had cave paintings. Being visual is ingrained in who we are. In fact, I might argue that we are becoming more visual, just look at the rise of social media like instagram and snapchat which focus on the visual aspects of sharing and communication.
Even scientists put an emphasis in reporting their information visually. We create graphs, diagrams, pictures, and drawings to be used in reports and to convey our research to the public. You can tell me numbers and trends all day, but show me a graph illustrating your point, and I'll understand the concept much faster. Things won't stick if you don't understand. Personally, I will be more willing to take in more information in the form of an infographic. I will scroll through my feed on instagram endlessly. We are all about the visual. Take food porn, normally with food you are focused on the taste, but with food porn, you are focused on the appearance of the food. We are a highly visual society.
In actuality, the best way to learn and understand something is by encountering it in multiple ways: reading it, writing it, hearing it, seeing a picture of it.
There is nothing wrong with asking for graphics and pictures. If anything a person should be praised for asking for information delivery in the method that works best for them.