Learning is a never-ending process. At school and university, there is a lot of content to learn, and there might be tests to take. By understanding how we learn best, we can save a lot of time.
Neil Fleming is a teacher in New Zealand. As the senior inspector for over 100 high schools, he observed many lessons. He noticed that some students learn better depending on the teacher’s technique of teaching. He distinguishes between three major learning styles: there are visual, auditory, and kinesthetic learners. You can read more about them here: https://vark-learn.com. This article is about ‘kinesthetic learning.’
WHAT IS ‘KINESTHETIC LEARNING?’
Kinesthetic learners learn by carrying out physical activities. They remember information best when they can link the information to a movement. Using music and dance is beneficial for that. In Uganda, “[t]he government organizes music, dance and drama festivals on an annual basis as part of the school music curriculum” (https://www.musicinafrica.net/magazine/music-education-uganda).
TIPS FOR KINESTHETIC LEARNERS
Here are four tips to learn best if you are a kinesthetic learner:
1. Move around: Enough sitting on chairs in school! Standing up will help you to focus for longer periods of time. A standing desk allows you to work while standing up. Alternatively, walk around your room with your notes in your hand. If you cannot walk around, try smaller movements. Have a tennis ball in your hand or play with a pencil.
2. Take breaks to exercise: Do some easy exercises like jumping jacks. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, jump a few centimeters off the ground and open them wider than shoulder-width. At the same time, lift your arms overhead. Jump again and back to the starting position (legs shoulder-width apart, arms beside your body). Repeat this for a few minutes. You could even combine studying and exercising. Ask a friend to quiz you while you are jumping rope. Moving your body increases the flow of blood into your brain. More oxygen enters your brain and helps you to concentrate for longer and better.
3. Release tension: During long study sessions, kinesthetic learners often have unwanted muscle tension. This increases stress and you will not be able to focus. Tighten a specific muscle for five to ten seconds and then relax it. Do several intervals with different muscles. Especially your neck and back muscles, and the muscles of your buttocks, the glutes, tend to be tight.
4. Create: Try to get creative and build physical representations of what you try to learn. Instead of reading about the brain, take a ball and label the different parts of the brain.
Whatever method you choose, it is good to mix them up and combine them. Try out what works best for you.
Throughout our life, we have to constantly remember new information. Everyone learns differently. Learning does not stop after school and university. If we know how to do it best, we can take advantage of all our opportunities.