Hi there! Just checking up on you… How are you coming along in this series? Are they getting boring? (Yes, you can tell me if you think so; I appreciate constructive criticism!)
You may have noticed by now that I am not exactly giving you dictionary definitions of each of these learning styles. Instead, I am trying show you how they happen in real life, to make it easier for you to identify and respond to them. I do hope it’s helping! If you’ve tried out any of the strategies I mentioned or learned of others and found success with them, feel free to share! I’ll be thrilled to hear from you!
Now for our kinaesthetic learners. Secretly, (now this is just between us, ok?) these are my favourite learners. Why? Because they approach life from such a fresh viewpoint. When I think kinaesthetic learner, I immediately think of two of my kindergarteners. Younger children in general tend to be more kinaesthetic in their approach to learning. And those two definitely are!
TEACHER, SO BORING…
Oh yes, children are frank, aren’t they! Kinaesthetic learners learn best by doing. The flip side of that is that they find it tough to sit still and listen. Three seconds is about all you’ve got before they decide that they’d rather not listen. These children are the first to hop off their chairs, the first to get distracted by an ant on their worksheets and the last to listen to instructions.
SIT STILL? PERFECTLY STILL? CANNOT!
Interestingly enough, kinaesthetic learners sometimes hit their learning switches only when they can perform physical action along with their mental activity. I taught one of them the five short vowel sounds by having her use hand actions to represent each one. She picked up much faster with the hand actions, as opposed to drilling with cards. This is one reason why you might find older kinaesthetic students tapping a pencil on the table as they sit in class. They’re not trying to be disrespectful or distracting; somehow, it just helps them learn better. Physical activity facilitates mental tasks.
IT GOES LIKE THIS AND LIKE THAT
Performance in art or music ranks high for kinaesthetic learners. Even when it was uncalled for, my student liked to assign hand actions to various activities we do, such as counting syllables in words or reciting the alphabet. She also loves to sing, which I allow when it is appropriate (while colouring pictures it might be all right, but not during the storytime!). My other kinaethetic learner though, dislikes singing, but loves playacting (his brother calls him a cartoon!).
MY TURN, NOW
In traditional classrooms, kinaesthetic learners often suffer for their weakness in following instructions. They thrive instead, in an enviroment of hand-on, do-it-yourself methods and trial-and-error. Let your kinaesthetic learner try out the things you’re teaching him. It is far more effective than forcing him to sit and listen to a long explanation of it.
I once prepared a worksheet (it took a great deal of time too!) to teach blending. It might have worked well for a visual learner, and even an auditory learner. But when my two kinaesthetic learners came along, I knew immediately that I had to find another way. So, I spent about three hours preparing alphabet manipulatives. With those, they were able to move the cards around, turn them over and add new letters as they learned. They did learn to blend well… the kinaesthetic learner’s way! I’ve also learned to let them get physically involved in class: they are the ones who will “help teacher” move chairs, gather colour pencils and stack papers. When we review, we play games that require movement (hopping from tile to tile, walking along a straight line on the floor, throwing balls into a basket, etc).
Kinaesthetic learners often get labelled “attention-deficient” and “hyperactive”, and consequently “learning-disabled.” Don’t make the same mistake with your child. Kinaesthetic learners are intelligent! But they don’t appear to be until you learn to see it and capitalize on their strengths.
Don’t give up! They are challenging learners to teach, but once you get the hang of it, you’ll be able to see life from their standpoint and suit their learning styles… and help them SHINE!
Coming up next: IMPLICATIONS: So What Does the Learning Style Mean? Don’t worry, no jargon, I promise! Just a very common-sense, practical viewpoint.
While you were reading, did anyone come to mind? Know of someone who might benefit or appreciate this article? Feel free to forward this email to them! I would be so thrilled if my efforts can help someone.
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