Young students generally need a concrete reminder to distinguish when it’s time to work and time to play. Kinesthetic Learning, also known as Tactile Learning, is a style of learning intelligence whereby the student uses a physical activity to understand a new concept. Kinesthetic learners process information by doing, as opposed to processing information by hearing (auditory), speaking (verbal), or seeing (visual). For example, those who process information kinesthetically learn better by physically putting on a Thinking Cap to mark the time to begin a more formalized lesson, swinging a bat to illustrate the mathematical concept of radius, or holding a slinky to help them break down a word into syllables. By the way, I’m a big fan of Slinkys! They’re fantastic physical tools for students who need a little help with phonological awareness. By using a slinky the child can physically hold it in their hands and play with its accordion-like structure to separate each syllable into its appropriate parts. So Animal becomes An/I/Mal.
Kinesthetic Learning is just one of the Theories of Multiple Intelligences, put forth by Dr. Howard Gardner in his 1983 book Frames of Mind: The Theory of Multiple Intelligences. Garder’s theory embraces various forms of learning that make up a person’s intelligence: (1) Logical-Mathematical, (2) Spatial, (3) Linguistic, (4) Bodily-Kinesthetic, (5) Musical, (6) Interpersonal (7) Intrapersonal (8) Naturalistic, and (9) Existential. The Theory of Multiple Intelligences presents a conflicting point of view compared to the General Intelligence Theory that many of our IQ tests are based upon. However, we’re beginning to recognize more and more that there is not just one way of learning and a student can no longer be generalized. In fact, some schools like Kirk O’ The Valley embrace The Theory of Multiple Intelligences, weaving in various learning styles to teach to each type of intelligence. Their goal is to the teach to the whole student. Although it may seem unconventional, their students go on to complete their middle and high school education at some of the top college-prep and academically rigorous schools in Los Angeles, where they in turn are prepared to attend some of the top of colleges in the nation.
Mmm… very interesting, isn’t. it. So how best do you learn? Put on your Thinking Cap and see what Multiple Intelligences you have here!
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Christine Terry, B.A., J.D., is the Founder & Owner of Terry Tutors, a Private Tutoring, Family Coaching, and Education Advocacy service dedicated to supporting the whole student. She writes this blog as an effort to help Moms & Dads Navigate Generation Z, Honestly. Want to Know More? Head on over to TerryTutors.com