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Kinesthetic Learning: Why It’s So Hard To Focus

I’m sure we can all agree that at some point in our academic career, we have found ourselves incapable of reading a few sentences and retaining the content. We proceed to re-read every sentence in an attempt to make sense of words that seem to come into our minds and vanish in an instant. We later become disappointed to find that none of what we read makes sense. We give up and call it a night.

Many of us will find this experience highly relatable. Maybe it has happened once, twice, or it happens quite often. Those who fit into the last category may have come to the conclusion that this is a case of ADD, ADHD, or something equivalent. If this sounds like you, I can tell you that not everything is lost. You simply have different types of learning abilities. These abilities differ from those that society has declared as the standard, customary type of learning.

Few of us might have heard of Kinesthetic Learning. The first thing that could come to mind might be a concept related to physics. You are somewhat right! Kinesthetic Learning, or tactile learning, is a learning style for students who retain more content when they employ physical activities, rather than listening to a lecture or reading a sentence. The Portal of Earth Education defines kinesthetic learners as those who learn by doing, exploring, and discovering. It includes activities such as doodling, hands-on projects, and many activities involving emotional experiences as well as whole-body experiences. It also helps to provide the student with rewards rather than involving forms of punishment. The Institute for Learning Styles identifies kinesthetic learners with characteristics such as poor listening, always wanting to be “doing” something, using gestures when speaking, lack of attention to visual or auditory presentations, and other traits.

Those who find kinesthetic learning more functional than the customary way of learning have three parts of their brain (the basal ganglia, the cerebral cortex, and the cerebellum) working together. This mechanism allows them to respond to sensory events, control physical actions and more. Though there is not sufficient evidence to prove that kinesthetic learning has more positive outcomes in comparison to other learning styles, its popularity has risen over the last 10 years.

Editor: Sydney Korsunsky