Kinesthetic or tactile learning is a learning style in which students carry out physical activities to gain information, rather than passive activities such as listening to a lecture or watching demonstrations. For students who are kinesthetic learners, moving helps memory happen.
A kinesthetic learner has a hard time learning through traditional lecture-based classes. To put something into memory this type of learner must be moving – the body does not make the connection that they are DOING something when they are listening without movement. Their brains are engaged, but their bodies are not – which makes it difficult for them to process the information they hear.
Even just standing up, rather than sitting, can help a kinesthetic learner process what they hear. Are you the type that paces when talking animatedly on the telephone or when trying to work out a problem? That’s kinesthetic!
Micro-schools like LEADPrep are a paradise when it comes to kinesthetic learners. Flipped learning alleviates the need for students to sit and listen to long-winded lectures. Project based learning gets students up out of their chairs and moving around creating models, asking questions, doing experiments – all the things that keep the information flowing into memory. And best of all, experiential learning is how these learners understand best–the concrete or real-life examples make much more sense than a textbook description.
People with a kinesthetic preference are better at applications than theories, they do better with demonstrations that are followed by applying what they have learned to a real life situation. They are good at being part of a team, enjoy finishing tasks, and revel in outcomes that can be measured. When they get to learn in their prefered style, they are also gaining important interpersonal skills (collaboration, cooperation, sharing…) that will help them in future work situations.
What to help your kinesthetic learner? Invest in a standing desk – when they stand up their body is more engaged and connected to the learning process. Let them pace in the back of the classroom. Challenge them to shoot hoops while you quiz them on what they have been learning. Provide them with a tennis ball, and have them bounce it against the floor and catch it every time they answer a question. Combining activities with learning keeps them energized and cements ideas while they are studying. Of course, these activities benefit the whole class…so add them to any class to maximize learning!