Table of Contents
- Bodily-Kinesthetic Intelligence
- Bodily-Kinesthetic Intelligence Examples
- Kinesthetic Learners
- Lesson Summary
All people have strengths and weaknesses when it comes to learning. One type of strength is kinesthetic, which utilizes the movement of the body. In an education setting, or in the world at large, people who learn using their body are exhibiting kinesthetic intelligence. One may wonder, what is bodily-kinesthetic intelligence? A good definition is the use of movement or sensation to garner information from the surrounding environment, solve problems, and create new things.
It is critical for educators to identify and understand kinesthetic learners in order to provide instruction best suited to their strengths. Key traits of kinesthetic intelligence include the following:
Psychologist Howard Gardner developed the theory of multiple intelligences in which he determined there are eight specific types. His theory proposes that the traditional view of intelligence, determined by IQ tests, is too narrow. Gardner instead recommended that a more comprehensive and multi-faceted view of intelligence be used in the educational setting. While critics point out a lack of empirical evidence regarding Gardner's multiple intelligence theory, the concept is useful for classroom teachers and individuals who want to understand how they learn best. Just as a teacher wouldn't expect a left-handed student to use right-handed scissors, when possible, it is best practice for educators to teach students according to their strengths.
The eight types of intelligences according to Gardner are as follows:
Note that each of the intelligences is independent from the others and that a student may be strong in one area, but not another. For example, a student may be a strong kinesthetic learner, but this does not mean they will be equally strong in visual-spatial intelligence. All learners are unique and, therefore, may require individualized learning opportunities.
Here are some examples of what bodily-kinesthetic intelligence looks like in action:
Because most education settings teach to students who are strong in verbal-linguistic and math-logical intelligence, kinesthetic learners must develop strategies that use their strengths in order to retrieve and retain information. Those who are given tactile, hands-on teaching strategies will be most successful, as connecting the body to the mind will enhance memory. Similarly, engaging in actual experiences will provide a rich environment for learning.
For example, a student with kinesthetic intelligence who is required to sit in a desk and listen to a lesson for long periods of time will struggle and quickly lose interest. On the other hand, if this same student is given opportunities to move around and engage in the learning process through experiments or projects, they will thrive. Similarly, consider a kinesthetic student who is required to learn the different muscles in the body. Studying out of a book or listening to a lecture is not conducive to a kinesthetic learning style. Instead, a more optimal learning experience would be to allow this student to palpate the muscles on the body, to feel them and locate them in real time.
Struggles that a kinesthetic learner may encounter include boredom and inattentiveness when required to maintain attention to one task for long lengths of time. They may also be easily distracted and annoyed by uncomfortable physical sensations.
To recognize kinesthetic intelligence, consider the following traits:
To provide the best learning experience for kinesthetic learners, remember that integration of movement and senses will help these learners develop long-term memory. Consider the following activities to help kinesthetic learners retain information:
Once kinesthetic learners understand how they learn and in which environments they thrive, career possibilities become evident. Common career choices for people with kinesthetic intelligence include being an actor, surgeon, paramedic, jewelry maker, landscaper, sports trainer, massage therapist, fishing guide, choreographer, gymnast, athlete, sports coach, builder, inventor, and park ranger.
Kinesthetic intelligence is the use of physical movement and sensation to garner information from the environment, solve problems, and create new things. Harold Gardner developed the concept of kinesthetic intelligence as one of eight determined intelligence types. Gardner's theory of multiple intelligences emphasizes the concept that each of the intelligences are independent and that having a strong intelligence in one domain does not guarantee that the other types of intelligence will also be strong.
Key traits of kinesthetic learners include strong gross and fine motor skills, good bodily coordination and skilled use of body language. Kinesthetic leaners thrive in careers involving the use of their physical bodies such as a firefighter, dancer, or athlete. It is imperative that individuals with kinesthetic intelligence become aware of how they learn in order to maximize their potential. Strategies include hands-on learning, frequent breaks, experiential learning, and integration of performing arts.
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Examples of kinesthetic learning include hands-on experiences such as building and constructing models, as well as whole-body learning through experiences in the real world.
Bodily kinesthetic activities include participation in sports, performing arts (e.g., dance and drama), crafts and building projects, as well as gardening.
Bodily kinesthetic skills include dexterity and strong gross and fine motor skills. Typically, athletic skills and muscle memory abilities are beyond average.
Kinesthetic learning requires the integration of body and mind in order to maximize the learner's strengths. Activities involving movement and sensations support this type of learning.
Famous people that have bodily kinesthetic intelligence include actors like Tom Cruise and sports stars such as quarterback Tom Brady and gymnast Simone Biles.
The word kinesthetic refers to the movement of the physical body. A kinesthetic learner is one who learns by moving their body in their environment.
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