It is commonly believed that most people favor some particular method of interacting with, taking in, and processing information. Based on this concept, the idea of individualized "learning styles" originated in the 1970s, and has gained popularity in recent years. A learning style is the method of learning particular to an individual that is presumed to allow that individual to learn best. It has been proposed that teachers should assess the learning styles of their students and adapt their classroom methods to best fit each student's learning style.

The basic "learning styles" that are discussed are visual learners (people who learn best by seeing or reading), auditory learners (people who learn best by hearing) and kinesthetic learners (people who learn best by doing).

The concept is related to Martin Gardner's theory of multiple intelligences, which proposes that there are many different kinds of "intelligence", and each individual has varying levels of these different intelligences. Gardner's categories of intelligence include linguistic, logical-mathematical, spatial, bodily-kinesthetic, musical, interpersonal and intrapersonal intelligence.

While these theories are sometimes disputed, they may be useful as a metaphor to think about a child's individual skills and strengths.

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