Kinesthetic Learning – A Detailed Guide

As explained briefly in our blog ‘The 3 Types of Learning’ different learning styles require tailoring our approaches to teaching to match the different requirements of different children. Read on to discover what makes Kinesthetic learners unique, and how best to support their learning.

One student pace back and forth while memorising a poem, other fidgets with a stress ball during a lecture. These behaviours, often seen as disruptive, might be signs of a thriving Kinesthetic learner.

Kinesthetic learners, also known as tactile or hands-on learners, grasp information best through movement and physical interaction with their environment. The world for them is a playground of experience, and traditional lecture-based learning can feel a little alien to them.

Identifying the Kinesthetic Learner

While learning styles can be a blend and utilising a mixture should be encouraged, some children exhibit a clear preference for Kinesthetic learning. Here are some signs to watch for:

  • The Body in Motion: They struggle to sit still for long periods and might fidget, tap their feet, or pace while learning
  • Masters of Play: They excel at physical activities, sports, and hands-on projects, readily absorbing information through doing
  • Learning by Doing: They might struggle with abstract concepts but grasp practical skills quickly
  • Difficulty with Traditional Learning: They might find lectures and long reading sessions tedious and struggle to retain information passively
  • Need for Tactile Cues: They benefit from using manipulatives, building models, or physically demonstrating concepts

Unleashing the Power of Movement

By incorporating Kinesthetic elements into your teaching approach, you can create a learning environment that gets Kinesthetic learners moving and engaged:

  • The Power of Hands-on Learning: Make learning an active experience. Incorporate projects, experiments, simulations, and role-playing activities
  • Move and Learn: Incorporate movement breaks into lessons. Short bursts of physical activity can improve focus and retention
  • Learning by Building: Utilise manipulatives such as blocks, Legos, or playdough to represent concepts and build models
  • Kinesthetic Study Techniques: Encourage activities like pacing while memorising, acting out historical events, or rewriting notes through body movements
  • Field Trips that Engage: Planning field trips that allow for exploration, hands-on activities, and physical engagement with the learning material
  • The Power of Play: Recognise the value of play in learning. Games, simulations, and physical activities can be powerful teaching tools

Beyond the Classroom

These strategies can be applied beyond the classroom walls to make every day learning more engaging:

  • Break Down Tasks: Break down large tasks into smaller, more manageable steps with clear physical actions associated with each step
  • Fidgeting with a Purpose: Allow them to use fidget toys or stress balls while studying or during long lectures to help them focus
  • Active Breaks: Encourage short bursts of physical activity throughout the day, like jumping jacks or short walks
  • Learning Through Experience: Turn everyday tasks like grocery shopping or chores into active learning experiences that involve movement

Learning Styles: A Spectrum, not a Dichotomy

It’s important to remember that learning styles are a spectrum. While some children might be predominantly Kinesthetic learners, most learners benefit from a variety of strategies. Here’s how to cater to other learning styles:

  • Visual Learners: Combine Kinesthetic activities with visuals like diagrams, charts, or pictures to create a well-rounded learning experience
  • Auditory Learners: Supplement hands-on activities with discussions, group work, or even music to cater to auditory learners who learn best by listening
  • Multisensory Approach: Whenever possible, integrate different learning styles to create a well-rounded educational experience

The Takeaway

Kinesthetic learners are not simply fidgety or restless; they are active processors who build their understanding through movement and physical interaction. By incorporating Kinesthetic elements and strategies into your teaching approach, you can help them develop a love for learning and translate abstract concepts into tangible experiences. Remember, the key is to celebrate the unique way your child learns and create a learning environment that gets them moving and engaged.

By understanding and incorporating these diverse learning styles, as educators, we can create a more inclusive and engaging learning environment that allows all students to thrive. As a school we’re committed to empowering our students to achieve the most that they can and any way we can support them in doing so, is as important to us as their guardians. To learn more about our teaching methods, our IB curriculum and other ways in which we give the children of today a brighter future book a tour or speak to our admissions team.

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