This is our third post in this series about the different types of learning styles and how to help your students according to what their style may be. Every classroom has a variety of different learning styles within it and it can be hard to think of ways to help everyone. It can also be difficult to try to figure out what type of learners your students are. That’s why I created this series. It helped me, as a teacher, to learn and comprehend the different aspects of each style, and I think it will help you, too!
Two weeks ago, I discussed the different traits and ways to help visual learners, and just last week, I wrote about the different styles of audio-based learning. If you haven’t read either of those posts, I encourage you to do so, either before or after this one.
Here are the links to both posts:
What Does Kinesthetic Even Mean?
The word “kinesthetic” means to learn through touch. It is a learning style that used body position and movement to help students learn and remember. Kinesthetic learning is when students learn through different physical activities, rather than just sitting and listening or reading.
In TEFL, we often utilize TPR, or Total Physical Response, as a way to help students learn and memorize new materials. This could be categorized as kinesthetic learning.
Characteristics of a Kinesthetic Learner
These students need to move. You will notice that they are always fidgeting, tapping a pencil, tapping their foot, moving around in their chair or doing some other type of physical activity, A LOT! Often, these students are diagnosed with ADD or ADHD, but that is not always the case. In fact, there are lots of kinesthetic learners who do not have ADD/ADHD.
These students tend to be natural athletes and excel at any sort of sport (soccer, track, basketball, etc). Therefore, you’ll notice that your kinesthetic learners have great hand-eye coordination and exquisite motor skills. They learn by doing – so, once they have been able physical do something, they easily and quickly remember exactly how to do it again.
On the contrary, these guys are typically not good listeners and become restless after sitting for an extended period of time. They may also do poorly on written exams (multiple choice, matching, gap fill, etc). They have a short attention span, so if you have a big lecture planned, unless you incorporate something captivating into it, they will zone out. This can be anything: stretch halfway through the class, go for a quick walk, 20 jumping jacks. Doing any of these exercises will help them hop back on track for the remainder of your lesson.
Ways to Help this Learning Style
As mentioned before, TPR is used in the TEFL classroom quite a bit. And, guess what? Kinesthetic learners love this! Total Response movement is a great way to help out your kinesthetic learners because it attached a physical movement to a concept. They are able to remember the concept because of the action associated with it. I would suggest incorporating TPR into as many lessons as you can!
Next, since the attention span of many of these learners is short, keep your lessons very concise! Any amount of extra TTT or rambling will throw these guys off. Keeping things simple and short is the best way to go! On top of that, during each transition in your class, allow the students to quickly stretch and move their bodies.
Kinesthetic learners are better with audio learning than visual learning, so it’s important to read aloud everything you go over. When they hear something, they are more likely to remember it than if they just read it. Furthermore, since it’s easy for these learners to drift off, they may just skim reading rather than fully doing so.
Lastly, bring in some fun to the classroom. Encourage students to get creative and do arts and crafts with young learners, or have them create skits and present them to the class. Anything that gets them up, moving and learning!