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child learning through the kinesthetic learning method

Kinesthetic Learners: How to Teach Them?

Kinesthetic learners can be identified in the classroom as students who need hands-on experiences to grasp concepts and learn better. These students are active in class. Because they prefer to use their senses and try out things for themselves.

By far, we have discussed that learning styles are important to identify the need to create appropriate strategies. Let’s take a step ahead, and see how these kinesthetic learners can be taught better in a classroom.

An interesting research shows that a bigger fraction of the male participants in a classroom were kinesthetic learners (41% of the surveyed students). But we all know that even our female students can be kinesthetic. This means that this style has a high weightage in a classroom as we deal with mixed types of learners. With the growing popularity of online schooling and virtual classes, many teachers find it difficult to engage these students well virtually.  

Let’s explore more dimensions of this style and see how we can help them thrive better through our planned approaches:

What is Kinesthetic Learning Style?

Broadly, kinesthetic learners are more about learning through movements, touch, and sensory experiences. They love to make use of their body parts. And learn efficiently when taught through activities that involve muscle movements, simulations, etc.

In other words, these students or individuals prefer more practical learning experiences instead of core theoretical learning. It is also observed that such individuals retain information better that they had grasped through active learning techniques and movement-based approaches.

How to Identify Kinesthetic Learners in a Classroom?

  • These students prefer to move around.
  • They need some kinds of physical movements to be incorporated to learn better.
  • Such individuals make use of their body language and gestures to express their thoughts.
  • Most of the time, these students are found using all sensory organs to learn better.
  • They are active learners and prefer to stay enthusiastic throughout the learning process.
  • These learners are good at collating information, samples, etc. for individual or group projects (peer tutoring).
  • It gets difficult to engage these individuals through traditional pedagogies and teaching approaches.
  • Teachers can find them getting bored easily in comparison with other students.

Strengths of Kinesthetic Learners

  • These students have high levels of energy
  • They are able to perform well in dramatics, dance, or other activities that require physical movements
  • They can be very spontaneous learners and do not need repeated instructions.
  • They have good retention power and are able to demonstrate their learning through big and small movements.
  • They can make the most of hands-on activities as they learn better by doing.
  • Play, experiments, and group work are enjoyable for these students.
  • These students can be highly productive even before and after the session (assisting teachers with collection work or rearranging furniture).

What are Some Strategies to Engage Kinesthetic Learners?

  • Incorporate Activities- Students with this learning style can be engaged well by adding action-based elements. Try to make use of role plays, imaginary characterization, and other ideas like random physical exercises, etc.
  • Educational Brain Breaks- There are some noteworthy benefits of educational brain breaks for one’s cognitive functioning. These are known to increase one’s cognitive functioning. And also help students to focus better. A survey reveals that 90% of teachers acknowledged the benefits of brain breaks in improving the student’s focus. Jumping, on-the-spot running, dance moves, etc. can be some fun strategies to involve students better. And the best part is that these brain breaks help all types of students even the ones with other styles.
  • Involving motion- Simple involvement in activities such as distributing worksheets/notebooks, etc. can be fantastic to help these students focus on the classroom instructions better.
  • Use of Material- Utilizing simple materials such as clay, drawing paper, and stencils, etc. can also help these students. A teacher can also group these styles of students and purposely allocate such tasks to them.

Activities to Engage Kinesthetic Learners

  • Projects– These students are great with project work and presenting these to the class. Give them an interesting mix of topics to work, and involve small groups to promote collaboration.
  • Art and Craft- In an online class or a traditional classroom, students with these preferences can be given tasks that involve drawing, painting, sketching, or creating models, etc.
  • Real-Life Experiences – They can also be given some additional responsibilities like visiting historical sites etc. post which their experiences can be shared with others in the classroom.
  • Games – Fun games that need movements are great to channelize the energy of these students.  

Weaknesses of Kinesthetic Learning Style

  • Distractions- These students can be distracted easily especially if they are unable to utilize their energy.
  • Difficult to follow verbal instructions- These learners often struggle to hold their attention during lectures. And tend to miss out on the links of verbal instructions.
  • Short attention span- While these learners are more focused during movements, there are times when they struggle to stay attentive for a longer period of time. Excessive craving for movement can lead to a tendency of shifting attention frequently, which does not help the student with topics that need other forms of instruction.

Final Thoughts

Teaching a class with different learning styles is a challenging yet rewarding experience for educators. Each learning style has unique strengths and weaknesses. But by incorporating the right mix of strategies we can help students in a traditional school, or even the ones from online schools to thrive better.

These learners are not difficult to handle if we know the exact requirements and approaches that work for them. They can be highly productive in a classroom if a teacher knows how to involve them, unlike other types of learners.

Keep reading the upcoming parts of this series to know about ‘Read and Write Learners’. And we hope this series is helping you to gauge the learning needs of your students better.

Thanks for Reading and Happy Teaching!

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