Social and Solitary / Interpersonal and Intrapersonal learning styles
Whilst appearing contradictory, it is possible for your child to be both an interpersonal and intrapersonal learner. Additionally, they may be one or the other. As learning style refers to how your child likes to approach a task, it is possible that your child may use a different learning style in different situations.
What’s the difference between an interpersonal and intrapersonal learning style?
Interpersonal and intrapersonal learners can be hard to identify since often, children may show elements of both.
Interpersonal or social leaners tend to:
- Communicate and listen well
- Like group work
- Like team sports
- Show empathy
- Have lots of friends
- Like group work
- Use lots of body language
- May have a strong personality
- Don’t like being alone
Intrapersonal or solitary learners tend to:
- Like working independently
- Make plans
- Write in a diary
- Can be introverted
- Is self motivated
- Like to be in control
- Prefers their own company
- Be a perfectionist
- Be quiet in class
What are the strengths for social or interpersonal learners?
Social or interpersonal learners like to engage with other people. There are lots of advantages for this. For example, your child may develop good leadership and problem solving skills. They may also develop become very good at reading body language.
What are the strengths for solitary or intrapersonal learners?
Intrapersonal learners enjoy their own company. This may lead your child to be very observant, focus for long periods of time and produce excellent work when they work independently.
Children who are interpersonal and intrapersonal learners, may enjoy the advantages of both of these learning styles.
In what areas might my child struggle?
Interpersonal and intrapersonal learners tend to struggle in conflicting areas.
Interpersonal learners may not work well independently and can be argumentative. Intrapersonal learners may not work well in a group and may not ask for help.
Children who are both interpersonal and intrapersonal learners, may struggle in these areas, depending on which method they have chosen to approach the task and the situation they are in. For example, a child may be an interpersonal learner at school. This means, in a classroom situation, they love working in a group but do not work well independently. However, at home they may be an intrapersonal learner. This means that they work excellently by themselves and may not ask for help from a parent.
What strategies can my child use?
There are different learning strategies for interpersonal and intrapersonal learners. However, some children may benefit from a combination of both methods.
Interpersonal / social learning methods:
- Study group or study buddy
- Role play
- Explaining information to another person
- Clubs or group activities
Intrapersonal / solitary learning methods:
- Have personal goals to reach
- Work at their own pace and in their own space
- Record what they have achieved in a diary
- Relate facts to their own feelings and experiences
- Learn for themselves – do their own research
- Crete self-assessments
- Write summaries about what they’ve learnt
What types of career options might my child like?
Schools will begin to encourage children to think about future careers in key stage 3. Interpersonal and intrapersonal learners may choose their GCSEs depending on whether they like to work with other people or work by themselves. However, there are many jobs that will provide the opportunity for both interpersonal and intrapersonal learners to perform well. These include sales, counselling, administration, psychology, nursing, writing, business, criminology and consultancy. This is because these jobs can be carried out in a team (interpersonal), alone (intrapersonal) or with an element of both (suitable for interpersonal and intrapersonal learners).