Kinesthetic learners are natural doers. They learn best when they process information while being physically active or engaged.
Kinesthetic learners aren’t necessarily suited to the traditional classroom. They tend to learn best when they are physically active, or through learning activities that involve active participation.
Similar to Auditory Learners, Kinesthetic learners are not tremendous note-takers in class.
They can be fidgety and not enjoy sitting still for long periods of time, which sometimes comes across as disruptive or uninterested.
Are you or is teen a Kinesthetic Learner?
Here’s a few main characteristics of Kinesthetic learners. See if any of these sound familiar. Kinesthetic learners:
- are good with their hands. They enjoy building models and putting things together (or breaking them!)
- are good at remembering things they’ve actually done before. E.g. cooking meals, putting together computers, jigsaw puzzles.
- enjoy active learning at school, such as PE and science experiments.
- enjoy playing sport.
- like adventure books and movies.
- become fidgety when sitting for a long period of time.
- do not tend to have great handwriting or spelling.
Study Tips for Kinesthetic Learners
Kinesthetic learners should use study techniques that take advantage of their very hands-on brain.
Use flash cards
Flash cards make kinesthetic learners turn simple recall into a game. This makes them perfect for kinesthetic learners.
Simply write a question or topic suggestion on one side of a card, and the answer or a list of details they should remember on the other side.
The beauty of flash cards is that you can use them by yourself or with others. This easily allows you to take an active part in your teen’s study while making it more fun for them.
Study in short blocks
Kinesthetic learners tend to have a relatively short attention span when they’re studying. But this doesn’t mean they shouldn’t be doing just as much study as everyone else.
They should break their study up into shorter periods, but also take shorter breaks.
Forcing a kinesthetic learner to study for an hour at a time can be counter-productive. Regular 5 minute breaks can often be all they need to help them study far more.
Use plenty of examples when writing study notes
Many main points and concepts can be demonstrated with examples. Kinesthetic learners tend to make better associations with the examples than just the plain facts.
For example, most science concepts can be backed up with specific examples. E.g. instead of just remembering the formula, F = m × a, you can think of a cellphone being dropped from a second story balcony, and how force, mass, and acceleration are related. (The more personal or relatable to their everyday life the better)
Many of the arts subjects include many examples and case studies. Try and get your teen to think of these ‘situations’, not just the plain facts.
Study with other people
Kinesthetic learners enjoy discussion. Talking about what they’ve learnt is often a great way to consolidate what they’ve learnt.
This tip is suggested with caution however! ‘Study groups’ may not always be productive…
As a parent, you could try and have a discussion with your teen about what they’ve learnt. Combining this with flash cards is a perfect way for parents to contribute to their teen’s study.
Do something while you study
Tap a pencil, squeeze a stress ball, or do something to occupy the want to do something with their hands without becoming a distraction.
Just make sure that this doesn’t become a distraction itself!
A note about music while studying
Kinesthetic learners tend to be less distracted by music while studying than other people, although this is a personal debate.
I personally don’t study very well without listening to loud rock music. But I know that as soon as I get a little bit distracted, off it goes!
Your teen should know what feels right for them, so let them have a play around and figure out what conditions they need to study best.
If you or your teen is a Kinesthetic learner, and you have a suggestion for us to add to the list we’d love to hear it! Tell us here.
A cautionary note
Most people don’t fit perfectly into one of the four learning style categories. Most students have a combination Learning Style!
So, what does this mean? It means that your teen should explore different ways of learning and choose to use the ones that they find most useful.
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