Kinesthetic learning by Adam Waxler

Did you know that while many students are visual learners and many others are auditory learners, most students actually prefer a combination of visual, auditory, AND kinesthetic learning.

So what is kinesthetic learning?

Simple…kinesthetic learners are those students who typically memorize facts by walking/pacing, they learn by doing, and like to move around frequently.

Here are three teaching tips for kinesthetic learning:

1. Do activities that allow for movement

I often have my class set up into “stations”. Students move from station to station completing an activity. For example, when studying “colonial life”, I have the desks arranged into eight different stations and each station represents a different aspect of colonial life (pictures and written information are provided at each station). Students then have five minutes to complete an activity at one station before they move onto another station.

2. Use simulations or “act-it-outs”

Give students a chance to work together in a group to create and perform a short simple skit. When studying the “Roaring Twenties” I split the class into several groups with each group receiving roughly eight “slang” terms from the 1920s. Students then have 5-10 minutes to create a skit using those slang terms. After students perform their quick skits we can discuss what we learned about the 1920s based on their performances.

3. Reviews games

Many review games provide the opportunity for movement. For example, I create a large-size concentration/memory game board on the classroom floor using vocabulary terms from the current unit. Students need to get up and move to the center of the room to physically participate in the game.

Remember, while students have different learning styles…effective teachers combine various teaching strategies to meet the various learning needs of all their students…including kinesthetic learning activities.

About the Author

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