Did your teachers inform your parents that you were an underachiever, and could do better in school? Have your children’s teachers told you that? Perhaps you thought they were wrong, because you know you tried, and you’ve seen your child struggle and try. Perhaps it was somewhat the fault of the teacher, and not the student. How, you ask?

Research has proven that a large majority of students who have been labeled as “underachievers” are actually the ones who do the best on IQ tests, but fail or drop out of school because they have trouble learning the way the teacher is teaching.

Everyone processes information differently. Some do it visually, with the help of things they can see, while others do it verbally, by instruction. The problem is not that the student is not trying, but that their brains processes things differently than most teachers teach. Until teachers begin to recognize, and start to teach with all the different ways that children can learn, the “best and the brightest” will get lost in the shuffle.

Our brain is divided into two hemispheres. The right side is called the auditory/sequential side, where we analyze details and learn by listening or reading. The left side is the visual/spatial side, where see things in pictures instead of words, and is our creative side. Most people use some of both sides of the brain, but just like dominance in left or right-handedness, we have a dominant side of our brain that we use.

Characteristics of an Auditory/Sequential Learner
Auditory/sequential students learn how to memorize anything because they are taught to listen to repetition, either verbally or in writing. They tend to be early bloomers and can follow directions well. They pay attention to details, and look at the smaller picture of things before they see the big picture. This type of student likes structure, is organized and fits well into a mold, or cookie cutter type lifestyle. They like neatness and routine, and are excellent at time management.

An auditory/sequential learner does well at memorizing vocabulary words and dates, and learn how to memorize anything by repetition and step-by-step instructions. They are influenced by language and what they hear, and solutions often come from trial and error.

These students do the best in school because teachers tend to teach the way these students process – in step-by-step fashion, repetition and review. These students are not necessarily the ones with the highest IQ, and they have to work hard at memorizing and retaining what they learn, but they are persistent because it fits into their structured world.

An auditory/sequential learner is not going to be the explorer or archeologist. They will be the doctors, researchers or teachers of the world.

Characteristics of a Visual/Spatial Learner
A visual/spatial learners are the creative thinkers. They see things in pictures instead of words. Their knack for remembering names and faces is remarkable. They learn all at once, seeing the big picture first, and then the details. When they learn something, when it finally clicks, it is imbedded in their memory for life.

A visual/spatial learner will not be able to explain to you step-by-step how they came up with the answer to a problem, or show their work if that is required because their brain processes information differently than what is normally taught in class. They don’t learn by repetition or drilling, but they can arrive at an answer to a complex problem quicker than most – simply by creating a mental picture of the problem and relating it to something they already know. Complex tasks are easier for them than simpler ones.

Visual/spatial learners are usually late bloomers, because they are taking in the world around them. They enjoy complex thinking games, like chess, construction with Lego blocks, or science experiments and mathematical equations. They excel at music, drama and art because they excel at memorizing a script or a speech.

The visually/spatial learner is usually class clown or underachiever because they don’t grasp how the teacher is presenting the material. It’s not that they are too dumb to get it. They act out of frustration, and tend to have low self-esteem because of they feel “dumb” that they can’t get it like the rest of the class.

How can a person learn to develop both sides of their brain?
According to Dr. Linda Kreger Silverman, teacher and director of the Gifted Developmental Center (GDC), “We only have two hemispheres, and we are doing an excellent job teaching one of them. We need only become more aware of how to reach the other, and we will have happier students, learning more effectively.”

Many of the visual/spatial thinkers show weakness in the auditory/sequential skills because of ear infections, allergies, eczema or sinus infections as a child that blocked the development of conductive hearing. It is a learning disability that can be addressed by experts in that field.

In order for auditory/sequencial learners to become more balanced, there are brain exercises that can to develop more left-brain skills.

Ideally, a student who can develop the ability to use both sides of their brains could excel in every way. It will not only improve their study skills, but their memorizing and retention abilities as well, to help them develop the best of “both worlds.”

Author's Bio: 

Ron White is a two-time USA Memory Champion, memory expert, and memory speaker. He speaks at seminars and to large groups all over the world on how to improve memory and memory techniques. Click to check out his memory improvement products.