Do You See What I See? (No, I’m Too Busy Making You Do What I Do.)

Do You See What I See? (No, I’m Too Busy Making You Do What I Do.)

…and other common misunderstandings about the visual learner

“Yeah, I think we’re gonna sit this next one out. He’s just not into it.”

“I feel bad. My kid just sits there and does nothing. I’m sorry.”

“Come on. Let’s stand up!” (Mom awkwardly prevents others from stepping on her child who remains planted to a comfy spot on the floor in the middle of dance traffic.)

“He’s bored.”

“She’s not having a good time.”

What do all of these phrases have in common? I’ll give you three guesses and the first two don’t count.

These are all classic comments made by parents or caregivers of visual learners.

Who is the visual learner?

Who is the visual learner? Well, she probably isn’t leading the hokey pokey. Visual learners are just what they sound like. Learners who watch first. And when they are ready – and only when they are ready – will they show you something of what they’ve processed.

The hurdle here is our expectations of the visual learner. It is natural to want to “see” (pun intended) something that will prove to us that the money we’ve spend on a semester of creative dramatics or music development and play was worth it!

Unfortunately, your little princess doesn’t “see” it that way (yes, again… the pun. I can’t help myself.)

Why don’t visual learners show what they are learning?

In the early stages of development while the brain is still learning how to communicate with the body, children are both processing and expressing what they’ve learned. They just don’t do it all at the same time. They are either processing (taking in the data through their senses) or expressing (showing what they’ve learned about the input they’ve been processing.)

Visual learners can be heavy on data intake. So, while the entire class is up on their feet doing the Macarena, little Billy is on his butt fully learning about said Macarena through his eyes. Little Billy may watch the Macarena – and more importantly, his mother dancing the Macarena – 100+ times before he decides quite alone in some corner of his room by the new train set you just got him because “maybe he’s more interested in trains than music” – that he will now dance the Macarena – 10 weeks later after the semester is over.

And there is your money well spent. (Certainly he will have processed more than mid-80’s Spanish pop hits).

How do you support your visual learner?

But what if you gave him nothing to watch? (Sitting him in front of a screen gives you negative pointage. Sorry. Kids need their primary caregivers involved in the teaching especially in early years.)

Here’s the deal though – if you MAKE Billy dance before his eyes have encountered all the moves and bends and chicken squawks he needs to feel ready to express such chicken squawks…Billy will not only show you with the sort of expression in public (that makes you want to hide in the hatch back of your SUV) that he is not okay with that – but in addition, Billy’s ability to learn about the music and the moves will be likely curtailed.


Because Billy needs to process through what he sees first.

Maybe Billy does like Soccer. Maybe he loves music too. But he needs you, his first and best teacher, to show him what it looks like and allow him to sit and watch.

Don’t worry! It doesn’t last forever so don’t give up on him.

Plus, a picture of Mom doing the Macarena is worth 1000 moves.


For more information on visual learners check out the Fleur Dobbins YouTube Channel.

This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. Joan Curran

    I love your creative ideas, Fleur! And I love that you are teaching the children and their parents with a God-centered message in a world that surely needs to introduce God to our little ones!!!

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