A visual learner tends to grasp information he sees, but an auditory learner's comprehension improves when she can listen. A third style of learning is kinesthetic, or tactile. A kinesthetic learner most prefers hands-on learning. He wants to be an active participant in the lesson plan, and his retention improves when he is standing or moving. Teachers with kinesthetic learners can use a few simple strategies that will aid in their success rate.
Projects and Labs
Projects and labs that offer hands-on learning opportunities work best for kinesthetic learners. Performing a science experiment will help them understand the process as well as the outcome. Literature that is acted out in a play has a much more profound impact than reading it. If your kinesthetic learner is apprehensive about acting in front of an audience, assign her projects making scenery, props or costumes. Math problems that can be tackled and solved as a group project will offer better results than working alone. If reading is the only option for a particular lesson, allow your kinesthetic learner to stand, hold the book, read aloud or simply move some body parts while reading. These simple gestures will increase her retention of the subject matter.
Introduce material through a variety of multimedia to better engage your kinesthetic learners. They will comprehend material that they research on a computer more than if they read it from a book. The use of chalkboards, whiteboards and smart boards will all help, especially if you invite the student to write on them as well. Lessons taught in the form of games increase retention rates. Have students videotape a lesson plan or take pictures to create a storyboard. Encourage them to cut and paste pertinent articles from newspapers or magazines.
Movement and Role-Playing
Movement is key to a kinesthetic learner. Lesson plans that are made up of several different parts can be staged throughout the classroom. Students can move from stage to stage, digesting each portion individually. Role-playing is an excellent form of learning for a tactile learner. It can be used for characters from history or literature. Assign research projects that culminate in an oral report to the class. Encourage the use of props such as handmade posters or models.
The seating plan in your classroom plays an important role in the learning abilities of your kinesthetic students. Seating these students in the front of the room gives them the opportunity to be more engaged when you present a lesson. Allowing your kinesthetic learners to stand or move while learning will greatly improve their comprehension of the material, though it should not be disruptive to other students. Engage them in class discussions and encourage them to ask and answer questions. Explain the different learning styles to your class so the students can better manage their own styles as well as be compassionate toward students with differing styles. Schedule short, frequent breaks to allow students to stretch or walk.
Cindy Phillips began writing feature articles in 2007 with her work appearing in several regional newspapers. With more than 30 years experience in the corporate arena, her business expertise includes all aspects of marketing and management. Phillips earned a Bachelor of Arts in English education from SUNY New Paltz.