Not everyone learns the same way, and that creates problems in classrooms and at home.
As a generalisation, there are three types of learners: auditory, kinaesthetic, and visual. These are the main channels of learning. It’s a generalisation because, a person is more likely to be a combination of two (or more) rather than simply one, as in being purely an auditory learner. How do you identify a kinaesthetic learner?
Kinaesthetic learners just want to touch and feel everything. As adults, their mates give them plenty of personal space because they just want to playfully thump them all the time. Their house is a mess because they just want to collect and pull everything apart, just to see how it works. Putting it together again may be another matter. Does this sound like someone you married?
It is easy to identify an adult kinaesthetic learner, but how do you identify it in your child?
Well for starters, their teacher will be strongly suggesting you attend Parent Teacher Nights, so they can discuss how disruptive this young pupil is in the classroom. They fidget, leave their seat to touch things, move things and find it difficult to sit and learn. They may not even be aware of their movements as they are easily distracted by the movement of others and want to investigate.
This student needs a hands-on approach to learning so sitting in class and listening, reading from a book, or even taking notes from the whiteboard is not the best way for them to learn.
They will respond better when learning is through participation, such as in chemistry experiments, or building a model. These students do well in sports, drama and live for school lunch breaks. By the age of seven, they have been categorised as being an under-achiever, or worse still, hyperactive. But fear not.
Being a kinaesthetic learner is not a problem, as approximately fifteen percent of the population are kinaesthetic learners. The problem is our education system is geared towards auditory and visual learners, and kinaesthetic learners are the speed bump in our systems road to education. What can you do?
For starters, accept them for who they are, healthy active children. Give them down time after an active session and reward them for the tasks they perform. These guys may be reward driven. Kinaesthetic learners do best with images so paint them a picture of what you want from them and give them regular breaks while studying.
Your student is likely to become an actor, dancer, physiotherapist, massage therapist, surgeon, mechanic, carpenter, P.E. teacher, athlete, farmer, etc.
The point is, be patient, give them space and let them grow.
By Peter Kenyon: XtraMile Tuition Strategies Tutor