Often, kinesthetic learners are misunderstood. Their need for movement is viewed as a behavior problem. These are often the students who are constantly being told to "sit and be still" in their desks. Unfortunately the more we urge them 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.
1. Give them plenty of outdoor time. 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. (Taken from a NY Times article by Tara Parker-Pope)
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
Teach letter sounds, shapes, and vowels to your kinestheic 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 his/her 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.
Many types of learners, including kinesthetic learners, benefit greatly from a multisensory approach to learning. What does it really mean when we say multisensory?
The accepted, traditional teaching techniques used in classrooms generally meet the needs of (left-brained) sequential learners. Concepts are introduced in a step by step sequence and are practiced and reviewed using drill and memorization; children must also show evidence of their learning in a particular time frame.
This is all great for children who are left-brained or sequential learners. The problem is, of course, that while the approach to teaching is great for those children who are sequential, every learner is taught this way and this traditional approach is ineffective at best for all the non-sequential learners.
Multisensory learning means that the student is able to use multiple pathways to the brain at one time in learning. He or she will not only hear the concept explained, but will also be using hands/body in learning, will see visuals that carry the meaning of the lesson.
Generally, teachers would be hard pressed to convert every lesson every day into a multisensory learning experience for their children. There is so much material to cover and so little time and so many interruptions. Yet given well-designed materials, the task becomes easy for both teacher and students.
The BIG 3 are present in every learning resource we publish: Visual, Story, Movement.
Here is an example of a teacher using movement to teach a lesson. Rather than telling children how to "make a 10" and then practice problems with paper and pencil, she actually made a place value mat on the floor and had children act out the action in the math problem. (See Right-Brained Place Value).
Here is an example of a child learning to write his numbers. First, he stands by his desk and using his whole body, he air-writes 6 so his whole body is engaged. Next, he writes what his body already felt with pencil on paper. Learning happens through movement.
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 - 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!