Kinesthetic learning is one of three different learning styles popularized by Neil D. Fleming in his VAK learning model. In essence, kinesthetic learners due process information best when they are physically engaged during the learning process.
Often those with kinesthetic learning style have a hard time learning through traditional lectures based on learning because the body does not make the connection that they are doing that – that when they listen without moving. Their brains are busy, but their bodies are not, making it more difficult for them to process information. Most of the time, they have to get up and move to put something into memory.
Strong kinesthetic learners
Kinesthetic learners have many benefits to help them succeed in the classroom:
- Greater hand-eye coordination
- Fast reactions
- Excellent engine memory (can duplicate then after doing it once)
- Excellent experimenters
- Good at sports
- Performing well in art and drama
- High energy levels
Kinesthetic learning strategies
If you are a kinesthetic learner, try these techniques to improve your comprehension, retention, and concentration while you study:
- Stand Up Instead of sitting down. You already understand that sitting for long periods is bad for health. But did you understand that, as a kinesthetic learner, standing will improve your understanding and retention? When you stand, your body is more involved and connected with the learning process. Investing in a book stand or standing desk can help you focus for longer periods and remember more of what you are reading.
- Combine your study session with exercises. Instead of plopping on the couch with your notes, get up and do burpees or clown between chapters. Ask a friend or family to quiz you on the tutorial while shooting hoops or jumping rope. The combination of activity keeps you energetic and cements the ideas you are exploring in your brain. Also, as a kinesthetic learner, you need a physical outlet for excess energy even when you have to study.
- Using small displacements. It is not always possible to get up and do high knees during a study session, but you can still use kinesthetic exploration strategies to keep yourself busy. Bounce a tennis ball to the floor and catch it every time you do answer a question. Twist a rubber band around the wrist or a pencil while you read. Even if the movements are small, they can help you stay focused and alert.
- Use Pen. Use a pencil. Use Highlighter. Underline important words or concepts while you read. Highlight and color code the passages that connect. Use a pencil to draw a flowchart in your books that help break the passage down into small pieces. Add notes that show the main ideas and your conclusions. Using effective reading techniques combined with movement makes learning easier for kinesthetic learners.
- Try tension and relaxation. When you are exploring a situation that truly limits your ability to move, use this tension and relaxation technique to stay focused. At intervals of five to ten seconds, tighten the specific muscle. Then relax when the second has passed. This method helps relieve unwanted tension that kinesthetic learners often experience during downtime.
- Manifest. If a topic becomes difficult for you, approach it from a different angle. The use of materials can be manipulated like blocks or figurines to visualize a battle scene or explore mathematical concepts. You are learning to draw on a given topic or create a video or storyboard explaining someone new’s idea. You have excellent engine memory; You are probably better off remembering what you are built than what you are reading.
Kinesthetic Learning Tips for Teachers
Kinesthetic learners must move their bodies to learn. These students are often referred to as “restless,” and some teachers may interpret their behavior as distracting or bored. However, the movement of the kinesthetic learner does not imply a lack of attention; in fact, it means that they are trying to process information in the most efficient way. Try these strategies to reach kinesthetic learners in your class:
- Allow kinesthetic students to stand, bounce their legs, or scribble during lectures. You will get more of them in class if they can move around a little.
- Offer different teaching methods – lecture, pair reading, group work, experiments, projects, games, etc.
- Ask your kinesthetic learners to complete appropriate tasks during the lecture, like filling out a worksheet or taking notes.
- Allow kinesthetic students to complete movement assignments before and after lectures, how to hand out quizzes, write on the board, or even rearrange a table.
- If you feel kinesthetic learners are slipping away from you in class, pause for lecture and having the whole class do something energetic: marching, stretching, or switching desks.
- Keep your lectures short and sweet! Plan several different activities during each class period to keep all of your students’ learning styles in mind.
Are you part of those people who hate lectures, sitting at a desk, reading a difficult book, feeling that your head is about to explode? However, do you show the best results when it comes to physical activities, such as games, sports, laboratory experiments? Then you may be kinesthetic.
Kinesthetic (tactile) learning is a learning style in which learners learn through physical activity instead of listening to lectures or watching instructional videos.
Neil Fleming, from New Zealand, a teacher and educational theorist, developed the VARK (Visual, Auditory, Kinesthetic Information, and Reading and Writing) model. According to her, kinesthetic students prefer physical interaction, due to which they better absorb information based on experience. They thrive in specific circumstances: on-the-job training, internship, business case solving.
If you are a teacher, you should pay attention to the characteristics of such students. And if you are kinesthetic, then you can use the information in this article to learn more effectively.
When learning, kinesthetics prefer:
Role-playing games: information is absorbed better if a scene is played out.
The sports component plays a big role in motivation.
Guided tours: kinesthetics are better off seeing and touching than reading and hearing.
These people learn much faster through physical activity.
Lab tests, charades, gymnastics, and whole-body games will also be helpful.
This is because kinesthetics cannot fully assimilate knowledge if their bodies are not involved in the process. In this case, the information remains in the short-term memory but is not transferred to the long-term; that is, it immediately “fades away.”
Tips for kinesthetic learning
- Develop a range of tactile actions
First, get a list of the skills you want to master. For example, it could be:
- English language learning
- Time management
- Acting skills
Acting is by far the best for kinesthetics. But what if you want to learn English? Then, perhaps, it is worthwhile to devote less time to grammar textbooks (although this also needs to be done) and more – to practice and to communicate with other people. Also, use flashcards, thanks to which you can learn new words, whole phrases, and even rules.
In short, when mastering a skill, look for a variety of ways to apply tactile sensations.
- Focus on immersion and interactivity
Continuing with the example of learning English, you can:
- Find apps for your smartphone that use gamification and interactivity.
- Include photographs and sound effects in training.
- Simulate the desired environment: decorate your room in such a way that it looks like an English-speaking person lives here.
- Make learning emotional
- Colors that evoke strong positive emotions.
- Biographies of people you admire. Also, look for interesting examples from the life of prominent personalities.
- Words that inspire enthusiasm and motivation.
- Remember that frustration, anxiety, and stress are those states in which the quality of memorizing information drops several times.
- Apply a variety of kinesthetic learning styles
Kinesthetic can be conditionally divided into four groups:
- Those who prefer practical tasks.
- Those who like to use their whole body when mastering the skill.
- Those who prefer to learn with their artistic ability.
- The ones that learn best when emotions are involved.
- Of course, in every person, these abilities are combined to one degree or another. So combine and experiment: express yourself creatively, sculpt, and paint (including scribble), take notes, and take visual notes.
- Get out into the real world.
As a kinesthetic, you don’t have to pore over books for long. Therefore, if you require learning how to communicate with people, go public. Apply different techniques, get feedback, draw conclusions, and learn from your mistakes.
- Create collaborative group projects
Kinesthetic love teamwork more than other people. In it, they show their best abilities.
Therefore, if possible, stop doing solitary work and come up with a team project where there will be a chance to realize your potential through interaction with other people.
This is the most interesting not only for kinesthetic but for many other people as well. What is an experiment in our case? You come up with a game for yourself that has a goal. For example, to get yourself some habits, you can completely change your daily routine for a whole month. At the same time, keep a diary; describe your emotions and physical sensations.
Children Are Kinesthetic. How To Distinguish Kinesthetics And How To Work With Them?
Having determined the leading channel of the student’s perception of information, you can significantly facilitate the process of his learning. Suppose we are talking about a preschooler or a student of primary or secondary grades. In that case, the conclusion about the predominance of one or another channel of information perception is made as a result of observations. A teenager or adult is offered special tests.
How to recognize a kinesthetic child?
Features of behavior that will “give out” kinesthetic:
- The child’s vocabulary is dominated by words that describe feelings or movements (cold, touch, hard, grab). In a conversation, he pays great attention to internal experiences.
- This kid just loves pets. He constantly touches them: strokes carry on his hands.
- Loves physical and emotional comfort. Dressing him in a spiky sweater is almost impossible.
- During the dialogue, he doesn’t look into the eyes of the interlocutor but down. At the same time, he makes many movements and gestures, tries to get closer to him. He may even start twisting a button on another person’s clothes.
- During a conversation, he constantly changes his posture. Favorite position – arms hugging themselves, legs tucked in or intertwined. Often slouches, walks with drooping shoulders.
- Shows a tendency to be silent. Sometimes these children seem timid and shy. This opinion is wrong; the guys just get lost in the background.
- He often relies on his intuition, which is very well developed.
- These children find it difficult to concentrate on. They get distracted for any reason.
- The child clearly remembers the general impression.
- The memory is activated while driving. A student, listening to the teacher, may not even look at him but fiddle with a pen or pencil with his fingers.
- If you need to copy homework from the blackboard, the child will rummage through the portfolio for a long time. Most likely, he will take out textbooks and mark the necessary numbers right in them.
- His notebooks are unkempt: they are stained, dented. There is a complete mess on the desk, in which the student is perfectly oriented.
- He uses change to warm up and move.
- The student has exclusive control over his body: he is distinguished by excellent coordination of movements, he is flexible and agile. He has a pronounced passion for sports.
- A penchant for manual labor.
It is difficult for teachers with such children. They call them “hyperactive,” “unteachable.” A kinesthetic that is forced to sit still will, after a while, start tapping his toes, moving his legs, or something like that. With the wrong attitude towards the child, 90% of the teacher’s efforts are wasted.
The challenge of the wrong approach to a child, when his way of assimilating information is not taken into account, is quite deep. Experts say that such children should not be required to quickly solve a problem or immediately repeat the material heard.
For example, kinesthetic students can count on their fingers for a long time when their classmates have already begun to solve examples orally. This becomes a big problem for children. What do they not come up with to hide their “academic failure”: they hide their palms under the desk, behind their backs, knock on the tabletop with their fingers. The guys need a completely different attitude towards themselves, patience on the part of teachers, and close people.
According to some professionals, all children are kinesthetic. This point of view has a right to exist since all children of preschool and primary school age are very mobile and emotional. Later, in most children, the dominant channel changes to visual or auditory.
How to deal with kinesthetic children?
It is difficult for children who learn the world in a tactile way to perceive the lecture, including verbal explanations of the teacher. Teachers need to repeat the same thing many times, show illustrations. Shouting at such students does not work.
Do not rush and label your child as a “poor student.” The teacher must figure out how to work correctly with kinesthetic children.
Recommendations for working with kinesthetic children
- It is challenging for a child to sit still for a long time. We must provide him with motor discharge. He can go for chalk, write something on the blackboard.
- Two people will know each other by speaking the same language. So it is with kinesthetic. They will be helped by gestures, touches, and their typical slowness of mental operations.
- Such students learn through memory. Exaggeration can help you remember.
- The child will respond to the teacher’s comment if a gentle touch accompanies it on the shoulder.
- Better to perceive the material that was recorded.
- Practical activity (design, experiment) is the most productive activity in the lesson.
- Physical activity is important for the student. The more he spends his energy, the more successful he will prove himself in other areas of life.
The kinesthetic student acts, examines, and analyzes. He learns by memorizing algorithms. He needs to understand why this or that rule is needed. What is the use of a theorem? How will she help in life? Working with kinesthetic children, you need to give them answers to these questions to show the area of application in practice of the studied material.
In no case should you neglect other channels of perception? They need to be used to the maximum. It is important to be patient and still explain, show again and again. The effectiveness of the learning stage depends on the number of open channels and the level of their development.
How should parents act?
A lot depends on the line of behavior of the parents. Failure to understand the child will lead to conflicts.
The child will cope with homework within a comfortable environment. If forced to read or learn the poem “as expected,” after a while, these activities will only cause hatred. Monotonous cramming of mathematics will not give a result.
At home, the kinesthetic cannot be forced to sit still and learn lessons. He needs relaxation: let him go and put on the kettle, serve something from another room, look out onto the balcony. It is easier for him to remember the material: in portions while moving.
It is difficult to study exact sciences with a kinesthetic, but there is a way out. Let the child cut out as much as possible from the paper: numbers, signs, unknowns, even formulas. If a student is holding something in his hands, it is generally easier for him to understand the subject.
Any images can be linked through associations. The paper applique will remind you of the material learned. The question “What did we learn when we cut out the typewriter?” launches the mechanism of associative thinking.
The kinesthetic will not learn a verse if he just sits and reads it. When he takes something to turn in his hands, starts sculpting or drawing, the result will be completely different.
A child with a leading kinesthetic channel can benefit from:
- Have a set of materials for various crafts, experiments, practical exercises at home.
- Read large encyclopedias, where he will find many answers to his questions.
- Watch educational films and programs.
- Go to exhibitions, museums, go on excursions.
Are Auditory, Visual, Verbal, And Kinesthetic Learning Styles A Myth?
For decades, it has been believed that each person is more suited to one of the learning styles: visual, auditory, verbal, or kinesthetic. Adhering to this logic, teachers should grasp what style of learning is more suitable for students and, depending on this, adjust the way of teaching. Let’s see if this approach is correct.
Why tutorial styles don’t work
The idea that certain people are better at listening or visualizing information can be not only ineffective but also harmful.
In the early 1990s, school inspector Neil Fleming decided to build on what kind of information consumption people like best. For example, when asking directions, would you prefer to hear a verbal answer or a drawing on a map? Questions like this are part of a questionnaire developed by Fleming to determine the learning style: visual, auditory, verbal, or kinesthetic. This concept gained popularity in the early 1990s, with widespread individualization, within which the concept of a personal learning style fit in – for everyone. The educators liked the idea, as it admits that even a difficult student can be approached by tailoring the material to his learning style.
At the moment, we have several evidence that indicates that each student can benefit from more than just one learning style. As part of the study, Professor Polly Hasmann and her colleagues at Indiana University surveyed hundreds of students to determine whether they were auditory, visual, verbal, or kinesthetic. The identified learning styles then gave the students teaching strategies. Hasmann later found that students either did not follow the recommendations, or they adapted the way they memorize information by the identified style but did not improve their learning performance. Hasmann believes that students form their learning style and do not seek to change it, and even if they do, their grades do not change.
Another study published last year in the British Journal of Psychology found that students who preferred to learn with visual materials thought they would remember photographs better, and those who preferred to remember written information were confident that would remember words better. As a result, their preferences did not affect whether they remembered words or images better.
Trying to learn different things from the same “style” is impractical. For example, mastering such a complex skill as playing a musical instrument requires the use of several learning styles: reading notes visually, perceiving sounds audibly, and performing a piece is kinesthetic. If you limit your child to the definition of “visual” from childhood, he may be left with the thought that playing a musical instrument is not for him.
So what works?
Professor Hasmann believes that the best thing any student can do is to focus on the material, which is exactly what the most successful students from her research have done.
For teachers, Philip Newton, professor of medicine at the University of Swansea, UK, offers his solution. He argues that the most effective evidence-based teaching strategies are regular testing, student-to-student knowledge sharing, and oral work. Another effective technique is to establish links between the information that students already own with new information.
He also mentions a technique that is key to successful teaching – the practice of “microlearning,” which involves recording a lesson on video and then reviewing it with colleagues and discussing points that could be improved. Such lessons can be quite unpleasant – few people like to look at themselves from the outside, especially in the presence of other people. But unlike other approaches to teaching, microlearning does work, Newton says.
Don’t limit yourself and your students by hanging labels, experiment, and find the teaching methods that work best for you.
Kinesthetic find it difficult to cope with stress and uncomfortable situations. They are completely immersed in their experiences. Parents need to talk more with the child about his feelings to find out the source of anxiety.
No matter how difficult it is with such children, they have one huge plus. These are little people open to the world who are interested in everything. They trust others and are charged with positive emotions.
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