Teaching Strategies that Meet the Needs of Kinesthetic Learners
Sarah Major, M.Ed. is passionate about working in harmony with a child's immaculate design to support their learning strengths. As a Title 1 Program Director and Designer, Sarah earned awards for creating her own multisensory educational resources that have now been sold in all 50 states and over 150 countries. By design, Sarah's materials have proven to be effective for kinesthetic learners through the use of movement, stories, and visuals.
Often, kinesthetic learners are misunderstood. Their need for movement is sometimes viewed as a behavior problem. These are the students who are constantly being told to "sit still" in their desks. Unfortunately the more we urge kinesthetic learners to sit still, the more they seem to need to move.
Once we understand that movement IS a learning style, the more success we will have with these very special learners. We can learn to make the need to move work FOR us.
Two other important strategies that are powerful for kinesthetic learners are story and visual. So, to recap, the three best strategies to use when teaching a kinesthetic learner are:
Child1st addresses the needs of the kinesthetic learner by incorporating hand and body motions, visuals, and story in every concept taught. This is why we are here. We have spent years developing teaching resources that by their very nature are multisensory and meet the needs of visual learners, kinesthetic/tactile learners, and right-brain learners. Those designations cover a multitude of different learning styles and preferences.
What are the strengths of the kinesthetic learner?
- Learns best through movement
- Will focus on the whole picture
- Learns best with 3-D materials
- Needs to move while processing new information, but with very little external stimulation that would distract (let the body move but limit objects and visuals in the environment that would capture their focus away from the lesson)
- Needs to learn using hands-on activities to process learning
- Is often highly intuitive
- Needs to physically process what they are learning. Let them actually do the work rather than listen to how it is done
SnapWords® on a clothesline makes for a great kinesthetic learning activity!
What are good practices that benefit kinesthetic learners?
1. Give them plenty of outdoor time. According to an article by Tara Parker-Pope in The New York Times, "A small study of children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder last year found that walks outdoors appeared to improve scores on tests of attention and concentration."
2. Let them move! They will learn more quickly and effectively if you let them stand at their desk, swing their legs, pace the floor - as long as they are not disrupting other students.
3. Break up long lessons into smaller chunks, change teaching location (sit on rug, sit in desks, go outside, switch seats, etc.)
4. If you are teaching steps for solving a problem, have students imagine themselves following the steps.
5. Their attention follows their hands. Encourage them to draw sketches or diagrams of what they are hearing in a lesson, or when doing a sheet of math problems, teach them to point to each problem they come to. Let them use flashcards with information they are learning.
Resources designed for kinesthetic, tactile, & visual learners
Teach letter sounds, shapes, and vowels to your visual, kinesthetic, or tactile learner. Alphabet Tales uses stories, visuals, and hands-on activities and crafts for each letter that make learning and remembering letters and their sounds a snap.
SnapWords® are designed to capture attention, hold attention, and be easily remembered. They are the best resource for active learners because the words can be captured in a glance and each word has a related body movement. Try SnapWords® for free and see the difference!
Easy-For-Me™ is a complete program for teaching reading for K-2nd grade. It is effective because the multisensory approach to learning engages your child on all levels, and utilizes their own learning style strengths. Every skill is taught using visuals and body movement so the active child is fully engaged.
The Right-Brained Math Series teaches math concepts using elements that work for children who learn best with visuals, patterns, stories, hands-on activities, and body movements (kinesthetic, tactile, and visual learners).
It is important to understand as much as possible about the learning strengths of each of our children. Believe me, they don't all learn the same way!
Kinesthetic learners generally are gifted with their bodies. They are aware of their body in space and have great balance. They are coordinated. They learn sports and other body skills easily. Read more about kinesthetic learners.
Leave a comment and tell us what kind of learner your child is!
My son is on the spectrum and is an exceptional learner . He learns best with hands on instruction and requires brain breaks during instruction to keep from him getting overwhelmed. I love this website as it is a great resources for both parents and teachers . I teach upper elementary and plan to use these resources in my classroom for my scholars that have difficulty reading on grade level
I loved this article. My son who has been struggling for a long time in the school system and now is 12. Sounds just like him
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