Lifelong Learning for Kinesthetic Learners

Lisa M. Clark The Lifelong Learner Leave a Comment

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Hey, lifelong learners, let’s press on. We’re continuing to learn how we learn differently and how that applies to our lifestyle of lifelong learning.

As you read the next few posts, I hope you ask yourself these questions: Is this how I learn? What tips can I take to enhance my learning? Whom do I know who learns this way? How can I encourage them to use their skills as they grow? Whether you are a teacher, a parent, a colleague, or a friend, we can become better learners and equip others to do the same.

Moving forward: bodily-kinesthetic learners.

Get a move on! Bodily-kinesthetic learners characterize the “learn by doing” mentality. Learners with this intelligence are often skilled in motor skills. Instead of sitting back and taking in information, kinesthetic learners are ready to jump in and engage in a lesson.

How do you know if you are a kinesthetic learner? Here are a few ways that can identify a learner with these preferences. This learner often likes to move or walk when telling a story or talking on the phone. When teaching, this individual is often expressive in actions. In the workplace, leaders with this competency often organize meetings around activities to stimulate interaction. When a bodily-kinesthetic learner takes the lead, the experience is sure to be an active, engaging one.

Gifts of a kinesthetic learner:

In the classroom, these students excel at models, experiments, and role-play activities. Their energy can often be contagious, and they can provide enthusiasm toward a goal. “Let me try” is a common phrase these students will use as they seek to interact with the lesson tactilely.

These learners are also coordinated and can demonstrate their learning to others by mimicking a physical skill easily. They work well with manipulatives and other sensory stimuli.

Myths of a kinesthetic learner:

It is not fair to dismiss these learners as “hyperactive.” Too many teachers dismiss kinesthetic students as “fidgety” or even “nervous” because they prefer to move their bodies while learning. Instead, utilize that style in class through activities or simply allow students to move around in subtle ways during learning to enhance their retention.

It is also a myth that these learners are “slow” to learn. When a classroom focuses solely on lecture or other hands-off modes of learning, kinesthetic learners don’t have their preferred means of learning available to them. The “aha” moment comes most easily for those with this intelligence when they are practicing the skill itself. In a meeting, this person may sit quietly until he or she can get up and demonstrate the topic in some way.

Equipping a kinesthetic learner:

In the classroom, give opportunities for hands-on learning. Project-based learning can be an excellent way for these students to interact with their lesson for long periods of time. Dioramas, drama, displays—these are all great assignments for this kind of learning style.

In the workplace, allow time during long meetings for movement. This doesn’t always mean just a quick break, but even opportunities for people to break out into groups and move about the room. Give these learners the opportunity to learn, experiment, and even fail safely. These individuals will then find a way to make the project even better.

At home, let this learner move around while talking. After a long day at school or work, they may need exercise before they are willing to sit and talk. Better yet, engage this person while he or she is on the go; that’s when his or her brain function is at its best. Also, be patient with the person who tosses out the directions and dives right in to a task! Directions don’t always make sense to this learner until he or she is in the thick of the activity.

Are you a kinesthetic learner? What ways do you love to learn? What tips can you offer those who want to learn more about this learning style? What strategies do you use?

I’d love to hear from you as we continue this learning community!



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About the Author

Lisa M. Clark


Lisa M. Clark spends her days reading and writing about God’s love for all people through Jesus Christ. She is a former high school teacher and a current editor for Concordia Publishing House. Her degrees from Concordia University, Nebraska, and the University of Missouri--St. Louis focus on Lutheran doctrine, education, and writing. You can read her latest posts here.

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