Informal research with children who struggled to learn taught me that many need to move their bodies in imitation of what they are learning. If we take a kinesthetic or tactile learner and set him or her in front of a piece of technology that requires no active engagement, we are hindering the natural need to move.
What I would like to explore is whether or not our students would gain far more if they were encouraged to mimic their learning with body movement. When learning the word JUMP, for instance, if the child sees the word and jumps as she reads it, she is reinforcing the meaning of the word with her whole body.
It’s true that some children don’t seem to rely much on movement that mimics the concept that is being taught; other kids, however, seem to be unable to learn without mirroring their learning with their bodies. For these children, any time we spend thinking up accompanying movements to learning is so worth the time investment!
We absorb information about the world through our bodies. The body is like a huge magnet for learning, which comes to us through our eyes, hands, ears, taste buds and our noses, and which lays the necessary background knowledge for more complex learning.
These active children are often labeled with ADHD, but the reality is that they learn through movement, and activity helps them think and process. When their attention begins to wander, rather than trying to force them to sit quietly, let them get some exercise and then they can come back and refocus on their task.