Learning styles, part 3: kinesthetic/tactile


        Each of us learns in different ways. The phrase "learning style" refers to the way we use our senses to maximize learning. Our senses donít work independently, but in concert with each other. Frequently, people have a dominant style that is supported by a second one.

        Parents who assist their young children in homework and studying can benefit from knowing the differences among these learning styles. It is especially useful for parents to understand that their childrenís preferred mode may differ from those of the parents. This is especially significant because it means that the methods that were useful to parents when they were students may not work as well with children who learn differently.

Tactile learners

        These people learn best by doing. The body has to be in motion in order to have them involved in the learning process. If they are not moving, if moving is suppressed, there may be a lot of fidgeting. In order to engage them, get them to do what needs to be done, as listening and watching will not be effective. It helps to have objects to manipulate while studying. This can include a pen used to write things down.

        The body must always be free to move around. It will be important to offer breaks on a regular basis.

How do you best work with a tactile learner?

        These are some useful techniques for working with these children:

  • Act things out. This can be a challenge, but it will work out best if you can translate material into movement.
  • Clapping, tapping, and other regular motions help in the learning of numbers, syllables, and spelling.
  • Show what needs to be done and have the child repeat the motions.
  • Ask the child to come up with motions to associate with key information that needs to be learned.
  • Breaks need to be built into study sessions. An hour of elapsed time may be needed for a job that you think should take only twenty minutes.

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