Tactile or kinesthetic learners only make up about 5% of the global population. That may not seem like much, that still adds up to 400 million people.
While the majority of people learn by auditory or visual stimuli, there are many students whose primary way of taking in information is by physically interacting.
Kinesthetic learning focuses on people who need to understand by doing. Physical activity, hands-on experiments, standing, and using objects and materials can help tactile learners focus better, retain new material, and increase learning and growth opportunities.
For learners in this group, watching a video of something explained or reading a set of instructions can leave them frustrated and confused. In the past, children with this learning style suffered from being stereotyped. They were often branded ‘difficult to teach' or ‘slow learners' because they couldn't understand a concept or particular problem. Getting these students to the correct answer was complicated when a hands-on approach wasn't available.
Traits of a Tactile Learner
Knowing whether your child or loved one is a kinesthetic learner is the first step in helping them understand and gain new knowledge. Tactile learners share several common traits and have characteristics that help you decipher if someone you care for is a hands-on learner. Here are some of the most common.
- High energy – tactile learners tend to have an abundance of energy and can quickly become bored and restless if they aren't engaged.
- Hand/Eye Coordination – Hands-on learners usually have excellent hand-eye coordination and show an aptitude for sports activities.
- Thrive Outside Class – For tactile learners, being outside the classroom offers the best learning opportunities.
- One and Done – Learners in this category can often repeat something after being shown it one time.
- Expressive – These learners are usually ‘hand talkers' and very expressive. Because of this, they typically thrive in art and drama classes and like to play with interactive toys.
Kinesthetic learners are also referred to as tactile learners because they prefer to learn by doing. Hands-on experiments and physical activity often help these learners engage better with new material and retain complex information longer.
To that end, here are several ways you can help the kinesthetic learner.
- Allow them to stand. Standing helps tactile learners by keeping them engaged and decreasing the chance they will become bored or restless and tune out.
- Physical Retention. Allowing students to bounce a tennis ball, twist a hair tie, or even do jumping jacks while learning helps them retain learned information. It also helps expel excess energy, allowing their brains to absorb new knowledge.
- Notes. Allowing your kinesthetic learners to highlight, color, draw and diagram in their textbooks or on sticky notes will help them better learn and understand new material.
- Manipulation. Sometimes new information can be challenging to take in and understand. If your students who learn through hands-on experimentation find a topic particularly difficult, offer them a way to use objects. Materials that can be taken apart and put back together in different configurations can be beneficial in this case. Blocks, puzzle pieces, and other creative learning objects are great for this need.
- Focus. One area where high-energy learners struggle is focusing. You can help your student(s) by giving them time for deep breathing and relaxation activities. This time will help them restructure their ability to pay attention.
When helping your child learn at home, there are ways to maximize their ability to study successfully.
- Study Space. Creating a quiet, distraction-free space that gives your child plenty of room to roam and move is necessary for your child's learning success.
- Objects and Manipulatives. Providing blocks, twistables, and other items that can be turned, taken apart, and restructured together helps your child understand abstract concepts.
- Study Schedule. Breaking your child's study time into segments will help them focus on the task. Tactile learners need lots of breaks and movement options to help them focus, expend pent-up energy, and retain information. Providing breaks between study sessions can accomplish most of these milestones.
- Practice. For younger kinesthetic learners, teaching them to incorporate movement into their study routine can only go toward helping them as they grow. They'll become accustomed to understanding their learning style and willing to add exercise to their learning time.
Finding different avenues to encourage and assist the kinesthetic learners in your realm of influence can go a long way in helping them grow. Whether in school or at home, these children can become pursuers of life-long learning who embrace the unknown. Providing learning-specific tools and activities to increase their retention of information is essential to tap into their learning ability and confidence.
This article was produced and syndicated by Wealth of Geeks.