Hands-on (Kinesthetic) Learners: How to Meet Their Needs

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  • Everyone has a different style in which they learn and retain knowledge. While studies have suggested that there are nine theories of multiple intelligences (i.e., ways in which people learn and interact with the world), there are three that are the most common. Of those three, some people are visual learners, some are auditory learners, and others are kinesthetic learners.

    In most classrooms, teaching is conducted using only visual or auditory methods, such as memorization, reading, listening, or lecturing–leaving kinesthetic learners struggling to catch up. Because kinesthetic learners require hands-on and physical involvement in the subject they’re learning and the learning process, alternative methods of education, like career colleges, are a great fit for kinesthetic learners.

    The Needs of Kinesthetic Learners

    Kinesthetic learners prefer a hands-on approach to learning new material. They are generally better at mathematics and science than their peers, usually prefer to work in groups rather than individually, and prefer physical demonstrations to verbal explanations. A kinesthetic learner can have a hard time adapting to other styles of learning; thus providing an atmosphere that’s conducive to a kinesthetic learning is incredibly important in an academic setting.

    Kinesthetic learners also often have more energy than their peers; they like to move around a lot and can be mistakenly diagnosed as having ADHD.  Kinesthetic learners may need to take frequent breaks in between lessons, learn new material while doing something active, chew gum while learning, or work while standing. In the classroom, incorporating activities that utilize movement and dance can help a kinesthetically-oriented child or young adult learn, as can utilizing physical objects, sports, or asking for demonstrations.

    Moving into Adulthood

    As kinesthetic learners move from childhood to adulthood, it’s likely that they will struggle with choosing a career path. Usually, kinesthetic learners are mislabeled in the classroom as slow or ineffective learners, and are sometimes tagged as underachievers. This labeling (and a lack of passion for traditional learning methods) can leave kinesthetic learners feeling lost and hopeless when it comes to choosing a future professional occupation.

    Choosing a Career College

    A traditional university can be challenging for kinesthetic learners, as the majority of teaching is done through auditory and visual styles. Not only this, but many careers that are associated with a degree obtained from a traditional university are not kinesthetic-related professions.

    A career college, on the other hand, gives kinesthetic learners the opportunity to obtain a quality degree or certification through alternative methods. Career colleges focus much more on hands-on teaching methods, and have students often performing tasks in real-life simulations in labs, kitchens, or auto / mechanic garages.

    Kinesthetic learners often have excellent hand-eye coordination and amazing memories. Therefore, many kinesthetic learners become construction workers, physical therapists, massage therapists, mechanics, coaches of physical education instructors, performers, chefs or bakers, factory workers, farmers, or carpenters. The key to a good career for a kinesthetic learner is that it encompasses movement and physical activity.

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