A kinesthetic learner is someone who learns best through movement or action. Unlike visual learners, kinesthetic learners may not find reading materials or even pictures all that helpful in their learning process.
Unfortunately, a lot of traditional education methods center on catering to visual learners. A kinesthetic learner will find it hard to absorb information in the traditional way, and most of them don’t even know why. What is saddening is that they tend to struggle to try to learn in a way that is not effective to them when all kinesthetic learners need is an adjustment in their study methods to enable them to do better and learn more effectively.
First, it is important to know whether or not you are a kinesthetic learner. Finding out your preferred learning style will make studying a breeze for you when it once was such a struggle.
Characteristics of a kinesthetic learner
Below are some of the most striking characteristics of a kinesthetic learner.
Always on the move
A teacher or parent might have noted you as having “ants in your pants” once or several times in the past. That is one sign that you may be a kinesthetic learner. Such people simply find it hard to stay still and always find something to do or somewhere to be.
Children will have a hard time concealing this and will display behaviors such as always moving around or running in the classroom. In adults, it is less obvious as we learn to control our actions and impulses. Instead, you may find yourself fidgeting or having a feeling of wanting to get out of the room as soon as possible.
High energy levels
Some visual learners can stay perfectly still and tire out easily with physical exertion. The same cannot be said for their kinesthetic counterparts. Physical activity and exercise invigorate you. You feel like you have unlimited energy reserves, and you are not afraid to spend it because you know that you do not easily run out.
Excellent muscle memory
Since you learn by movement, it will seem as if your memories are kept not just inside your mind but rather your whole body. The expression “It’s like riding a bike” is a clearcut example of this. You learn something by doing it, and once you successfully did it once or twice, you don’t just forget it no matter how long it’s been because your body seems to remember how to do it.
Gifted in sports
With boundless energy and a desire to be on the move, kinesthetic learners are usually gifted in sports. Not just that, they also excel in other physical activities like acting or dancing.
Kinesthetic learners have a good command of their body since they like movement a lot. They have great balance, excellent hand-eye coordination, and grace. They are not likely ones who you would call clumsy or awkward.
Short attention span
You find it hard to focus when someone is talking for too long or if the passage you’re reading is too long. Somewhere in the first few sentences, your mind tends to wander, or you get the feeling of wanting to do something else that involves walking around or making something with your hands. Reading novels may not be your favorite, or you like reading, but it takes you forever to finish a book because you can’t sit still and focus.
Not good with steps and procedures
Listening or reading about how to do something is less effective than actually doing it for kinesthetic learners. Visual learners may be able to grasp and understand theory and illustration, but kinesthetic learners need immersion. In order for them to learn something new, they have to try it out for themselves.
Easily distracted by surroundings
This stems from the difficulty in focusing and the short attention span for something that does not involve a lot of movement. If you find yourself looking out the window or get distracted by an insect or distant noises, it is likely that you are a kinesthetic learner.
Gets bored in a traditional classroom
Dreading long and winding meetings or classroom lectures is also a sign that you might be a kinesthetic learner. You will often find such traditional settings too boring and lack stimulation to sustain your interest and attention. It will often feel as if you would rather do something else every time you attend a traditional class.
Study tactics for kinesthetic learners
Just because kinesthetic learners find it hard to cope with traditional learning resources doesn’t necessarily mean that they are doomed to a life of struggling to learn. Here are a few suggestions about learning tactics that work well for such types of learners:
The simple act of going outside will break the monotony and boredom of a traditional class. Field trips, explorations, and actual observation of subjects while lecturing is best appreciated by all -whether kinesthetic or visual learners.
Use materials other than pen and paper
Don’t limit yourself to pen and paper. Make models out of clay, learn the art of origami to translate the things you learn into something you make out of your hands; sometimes, the simple act of designing and highlighting your notes provides some stimulation.
Games are a fun way to learn. They are more stimulating and engaging than traditional lectures and involve at least a bit of movement. Kinesthetic learners may appeal more in learning through games.
Put theories to the test by conducting actual experiments to see if and how they truly work. It may take some effort and entail some cost, but you will enjoy the lesson better and therefore absorb and retain information much faster.
Inform your lecturer about your learning style and see if you can be allowed to stretch your legs every now and then during the class. Sometimes the simple act of standing up gets rid of the jittery feeling you get from sitting for too long.
Sometimes, especially in official and formal events, you won’t be able to get up every now and again as you might distract others around you. In such instances, it would pay well to learn about relaxation techniques such as meditation and breathing exercises that can help you calm your nerves and improve or sustain your mental focus throughout the entire event.
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