Kinesthetic Learning Style

In the kinesthetic learning style the student understands information best when doing a physical activity, rather than by listening to a lecture or watching a demonstration.

Kinesthetic learners prefer being involved in activities. They need to apply the information and make it their own by constructing something or practising a technique or skill.

The Kinesthetic Learning Style is one of eight types of learning styles defined in Howard Gardner's theory of Multiple Intelligences. It refers to a person's ability to process information through the hand and body movement, control, and expression.

A number of students don’t have difficulty with reading, math, sitting at a desk and completing worksheets. But kinesthetic learners aren’t so lucky. They have trouble sitting for periods of time. They need to move around and touch things, to use their tactile senses and fine and gross motor movement for most effective learning.

In the past, these students with kinaesthetic learning style were considered hyperactive and difficult. Now we know that aren’t being difficult. They learn best when they can move around and engage their small and large muscle groups.

Kinesthetic learners may feel disadvantaged and less effective than other learners. They need to know that they are not less smart, but that they learn differently.

Kinesthetic learners are energetic and need to move. They enjoy drawing, modeling, sculpting, drafting, shop, athletics, dance, and hands-on sciences and working with their hands, They may be talented athletes.

For more information, check out,

Characteristics of
Kinesthetic Learning Style

  • Learns best when physically engaged in a "hands on" activity. Enjoys building and disassembling models.
  • Lab settings where materials are manipulated help.
  • Physical activity in the learning environment improves learning. Thinks best when given freedom to move around.
  • Understands instructors who demonstrate concepts.
  • Enjoys working with tools.
  • Remembers best by writing things down a number of times and doing things such as cooking meals, jigsaw puzzles.
  • Often plays with coins or keys in pockets.
  • May chew gum, smoke, or snack during studies.
  • Learns spelling by "finger spelling" the words.
  • Prefers doing something to reading “how to” instructions.
  • Learns best when shown how to perform an activity and then doing it.
  • Often prefers not to study at a desk.
  • While trying to think of a specific word, uses hands a lot and calls something a "what-cha-ma-call-it" or a "thing-a-ma-jig."
  • Likes adventure books and movies. Does not spend a lot of time reading.
  • Handwriting and spelling may be a challenge.
  • Needs breaks during studying.
  • Usually not skilled in giving verbal explanations or directions.
  • Likes to try new things.
  • Is coordinated and agile.
  • Is considered hyperactive and might even be labelled ADHD.
  • Expresses feelings physically, such as hugging or hitting.
  • Uses hands when talking.
  • Dresses for comfort rather than style.
  • Lies on the floor or bed while studying.
  • Enjoys touching things.
  • Excels in athletics and the performing arts. 

Also look at Understanding Different Learning Styles, Visual Learning Style and Auditory Learning Style.

Top Tips for Kinesthetic          Learning Style

  • Touch, feel, and handle objects. Learn by doing.
  • Take notes, draw diagrams, and make models.
  • Try an activity first rather than watching a demonstration.
  • Move the body in order to learn something new. For example, read a book with the left hand while bouncing a basketball tapping a pencil or squeezing a stress ball with the right.
  • Show or demonstrate ideas rather than tell.
  • Dramatic arts are a great outlet.
  • Do quizzes while walking or kicking a soccer ball. Repetitive physical activity is important.
  • Study in short blocks.
  • Flash cards help turn recall into a game.
  • Use plenty of examples in taking notes especially for absorbing facts.
  • Study with other people and talk about information. 

Kinesthetic learners are natural doers. They learn best when they discover things by doing them.

If you are a parent, keep in touch with the teacher and become active in the school. The more you understand your child’s learning style, the better you encourage the teachers to use the best instructional methods for success. 

Common Phrases Used by
Kinesthetic Learners

‘That feels right to me.’

‘I can't get a grip on this.'

‘Stay in touch.’

‘Get in touch with.'

‘That doesn't sit right with me.’

‘I have good feelings about this.’

‘My gut is telling me.'

‘I follow your drift.’

Career Choices
for Kinesthetic Learning Style

  • Dance.
  • Athletic coaching or training.
  • Aerobics instructing.
  • Artistic painting.
  • Sculpture or woodworking.
  • Emergency rescue worker.
  • Fire fighting.
  • Police work.
  • The military. 

Understanding kinesthetic learning style and learning how to adapt to this style of learning is a self esteem booster. Schools and learning can often make the kinaesthetic learning less able than others. This leads to a dampening of interest in school and fear of not being successful.

Putting solid tools into your tool kit for learning gives confidence and progress.

Go to Self Esteem Home Page 

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