Will you ever get such a child to sit still and “pay attention”?!! And herein lies the discrepancy; when a kinesthetic learner is sitting still he or she is often struggling to “pay attention” because of the “sitting still”. Unfortunately, kinesthetic learners are more often labeled as having ADHD, more prone to misbehave in a formal classroom setting, and more at risk for falling behind academically. But consider this: the majority of population of the world has only been learning in a formal classroom setting for a relatively short period of time. Up until recently, kinesthetic learning was the main mode of acquiring life skills.
The kinesthetic mode is a natural and valid way to learn and is even the first preference for a large percentage of highly intelligent adults.
So how does one teach kinesthetic learners?
An important thing to remember is that they do not have to learn in this mode all of the time. Everyone has secondary learning preferences, and while some main preferences are stronger than others, each person can learn through other means than their main modality. We encourage teachers and parents to find these students’ secondary preference (auditory, visual, tactual or verbal kinesthetic) and when the student cannot move around she can at least be taught with that secondary preference in mind.
That being said, a kinesthetic learner is at his highest level of concentration when moving the large muscles. To accommodate this requires creativity on the teacher’s part. If the student can walk, jump, or throw something while concentrating he will absorb more. If his secondary perceptual preference is auditory, we recommend putting information and instruction on a listening device and allowing the student to walk while listening. Or, if her secondary preference is visual, a set of index cards with pictures and learning instructions can be carried around while moving. We also highly recommend an inflated disc, sold in our learning styles resource store on which your student may sit when having to be stationary while concentrating.
Kinesthetic learners will have a natural tendency to move around, bounce their legs, swing their arms, etc…
Now that you know that your student needs to move while concentrating, you will hopefully encourage any of these activities when they are studying the most difficult concepts.
When something is difficult, there are some great ways to help the kinesthetic learner.
- Offer a ball to bounce or throw against a wall or into a basket.
- Let him think while playing with a yo-yo.
- Allow her to pace or jump rope while learning.
- Let him study on a stationary bicycle if available.
- Let her sit on a bouncy disc like the one mentioned above.
Give your kinesthetic learner any opportunity you can find for them to move while concentrating and you’ll be surprised at the results!
Here are some great learning tools recommendations: