Written by Judy Bartkowiak
Top tips for teaching kinaesthetic pupils:
We all have elements of visual, auditory and kinaesthetic internal representational systems but whereas visual and auditory are generally pretty well catered for in schools, kinaesthetic can find long lessons with few breaks and a lot of writing and listening, very difficult to manage.
They need to be doing something. Sometimes they can even be diagnosed as having learning difficulties despite the fact that when doing something active they can be very focused and engaged. Teachers need to be aware of different learning styles and cater for those who need frequent breaks and more interactive learning but equally kinaesthetic learners need to consider how they can make what is offered as involving as they can.
Kinaesthetics learn by doing, they need to physically experience the learning because they are active full body learners. You’ll see them fidgeting in classrooms when they have to sit still for long periods and they need to take a break regularly to run about and stretch. They’re usually quite sporty and in touch with their body and how it feels so they will be quite tactile and sensitive to the heat and cold. They will also be quite expressive.
They will be active speakers and listeners and use facial expression, hand and body gestures and will fiddle and fidget when talking rather than the stiller pose of the auditory student. They refer to their ‘gut feelings’ and ‘being in touch’ with their feelings and may respond more emotionally to events than one might expect. Comfort and bodily temperature is important to them so extremes of heat and cold are not endured easily. It is important to them to be comfortable in their own skin, wear clothes that are comfortable rather than ones that look good (visual).
They want to get ‘stuck in’ and do rather than watch or be told. It’s all about involvement physically and mentally. Given a new piece of equipment, rather than read the instructions they’ll just work it out for themselves by trial and error.
Kinaesthetic learners learn by moving touching and doing. Hands-on learning is what they like best actively exploring the world around them. They will remember well what they have done but will have trouble remembering what was said or seen. Fiddling is second nature as is doodling – why do one thing when you can do two? They’ll have trouble sitting still in a classroom so plenty of active breaks are needed as well as opportunities to move about through class activities such as group work or practical activities.
As a kinaesthetic student you may not be able to control your classroom environment or ask for breaks but there are things you can do to aid your learning. Use coloured highlighters to mark up your notes and use mind maps to transfer information into a form that makes it easier to remember.
When you have subject choices choose subjects that are more practical or those that have practical elements such as Geography with field trips, science, drama, sport and design. At home when revising or doing homework use flash cards or memory games, interactive programmes on the computer in order to make the most of the material. Many computer based revision programmes offer multiple choice questions and these will suit you.
NLP Learning for Kids
Judy Bartkowiak is the author of ‘Secrets of the NLP Masters’ published this month by Hodder Education. Find out more about how to adapt your teaching style to different learning types in NLP for Teachers by Terry Elston.