Not everyone learns the same way. Some people can read a instruction book and then perform a particular task as if they'd been doing it all their lives. Some can assimilate information best through lectures and audio tapes. But some of us don't really learn until we try it out ourselves. These people are known as kinesthetic learners. If you or your child learns best by doing, this article can help give you a better understanding of your learning style, how it can affect your education, and how to adapt in a world of people who learn differently.
About five percent of the population is made up of kinesthetic learners, which means the majority will learn through reading, watching, or hearing. Kinesthetic learners can be identified by their need to move around while learning or even while doing tests. They tend to succeed at hands on training but do more poorly in activities that require reading, writing, or listening. A predilection for kinesthetic learning may be confused with a tendency toward hyperactivity in children, leading to a mistaken diagnosis of ADHD.
Kinesthetic learners have great hand eye coordination. They tend to excel in sports such as football, baseball, and hockey, and in artistic activities, such as painting, drawing, or dancing, because they are so in tune with the movements of their bodies. In school, they do well in gym, art, science lab activities where they are required to perform experiments, and in practical life skills classes such as wood carving, cooking or sewing. They may go on to make a career out of theses skills, such as running a catering company or repairing automobiles.
Kinesthetic learners struggle to sit through lectures and demonstrations that require them to be quiet and listen while the instructor is talking. They also struggle with written tests and oral exams, because their ability to recall and absorb information requires them to move around and connect their thoughts through motion. A kinesthetic learner will likely be passed over by an employer as being too fidgety and restless. The student will likely get into trouble for constantly getting out of his or her seat during class time.
Kinesthetic learners are good at multi tasking, so giving them something else to do, such as listening to music, can help them focus on the task they're supposed to be doing. Using practical discovery sessions to augment classroom learning at home can also help kinesthetic learners process and remember the material from their classes. You might also ask the teacher to allow the child more freedom of movement in class or sign them up for a Montessori school, which places more emphasis on kinesthetic learning activities.