Kinesthetic learning is a style of teaching where students use their body to learn. Far from a new-fangled idea, we’ve known for generations that a lot of of us work best and learn better when we’re active. In the early 20th century Thomas Edison declared that good work and “great ideas originate in the muscles.”
What is kinesthetic learning?
It can be as simple as standing out of your seat for an activity, walking around the room. Or it can be as active as completing exercises throughout a school lesson. Traditionally, classrooms favor auditory and visual learning styles. Although only ~15% of the population is strongly aligned with a kinesthetic learning style preliminary research has shown that kinesthetic learning results in increased learning outcomes for ALL students (see: Coffield, F., Moseley, D., Hall, E., Ecclestone, K. (2004).
Why is it important?
Learning requires more than one dimension of instruction. When students learn by doing and experiencing, they are able to easily associate information with movement.
Activity stimulates the brain, increases focus and alertness, enhances mood, improves memory, and bolsters test performance. Incorporating movement in the classroom also creates a fun and enjoyable learning environment. It cPhysical an relieve stress and make light of a sometimes tense situation.
“For your brain to function at its peak, your body needs to move.” – J. Ratey, M.D.
Today’s children are the first generation predicted to have a shorter life expectancy than their parents. Therefore, spending 7+ hours per day and eating two meals in school makes it an ideal environment to make learning active. When recess and PE are cut out of the school days, coming to school looks more like a desk job. 1 out of every 3 children are diagnosed as overweight or obese. The CDC recommends that children and adolescents should do 60 minutes or more of physical activity each day, or 420 minutes of physical activity each week.
If children, on average, receive 30 minutes of recess, 5 days a week and 45 minutes of PE once per week, that totals 195 minutes.
420 minutes recommended
-195 minutes from school
225 unaccounted for minutes.
That means, children receive less than half of the recommended amount of physical activity they need per week during school hours. Where will children make up for those 225 minutes if they are not playing sports or taking family walks at night? School. Teachers can improve the health of children while simultaneously improving their retention of information.
Give it a try!
If you or your class have been sitting still for an hour then take a walk down the hallway. See if you agree with the research and experience improved focus.