Greta Thunberg is the Long-Awaited Hero for Kinaesthetic Learners
I don’t think anyone would consider Greta Thunberg a conventional teen. It’s not every teen that draws the attention of the global media. But in a recent post, Greta showcased another element of her “unconventional” teen life. Greta is a Kinaesthetic Learner. Any kid growing up a kinaesthetic learner will tell you, they have, at one time or another, attracted criticism for their physical behaviour in class. Their inability to “just sit still and do the work’. Kinaesthetic learners have long been misunderstood and even ignored by traditional teaching methods. Kinaesthetic learning examples differ for each kid – and it’s easy to misunderstand a child’s challenges. That’s changing. And Greta Thunberg is a global icon of change.
Focus and distraction mean different things to different people
Source: Greta’s Facebook Page
“My hands and mind want to keep busy”
Kinaesthetic learning is a bit different for every student. For younger students who are kinaesthetic learners, they may learn best being educated through physical play or through practical examples of the curriculum rather than through the traditional ‘sit and study model’ that is favoured by traditional educational institutions. One in twenty kids is a kinaesthetic learner, so there’s likely one in every class. That one is at risk of being left behind. Read more on identifying and nurturing a kinaesthetic learner here.
In a traditional classroom set up, this can look like the kid who constantly rocks on his chair. Or the one who finds constant excuses to get up in class. Or the child who is constantly tapping or fidgeting in class. While this seems “distracting” to teachers, it’s the kinaesthetic learner’s way of satisfying their need to move, while trying to fit into the conventional learning model. The results? Children who express frustration in class for no obvious reason. Children who don’t absorb the curriculum at the optimum level. Kids who are told by the education system that they’re not focused enough to achieve their goals. In short, kinaesthetic learners face a kind of disadvantage and discrimination that their more conventional aural and visual peers do not.
Greta’s kinaesthetic learning examples inspires thousands of responses
Meetings, discussions, interviews and online classes – all require Greta’s undivided attention. So, she does cross-stitch and jigsaw puzzles while she’s listening. That’s her “version” of kinaesthetic learning. I don’t think anyone would accuse her of not being engaged. Of not being clever. Of not being an extraordinary teen. In response to her examples, the community responded with thousands of “homemade therapies” for their own learning strategies. Painting rocks while on Zoom. Colouring. Papercraft. Beading. Sewing. Knitting. All in the name of “keeping hands busy” so that the brain can engage. This is just one example of kinaesthetic learning techniques. Some students opt to create physical learning places. Some engage in physical activity like jogging while listening to lectures. Every child’s approach to learning is different, every child’s physical response is different. And it’s time the education system started empowering kinaesthetic learners, instead of disenfranchising them.
How to nurture your unique little learner
The report card comes home that your child is a distraction and simply won’t sit still in class. BIG. RED. FLAG. In a classroom in North Brisbane, a boy was in constant trouble for rocking on his chair and “faffing about” in the classroom. His mum took him to an Occupational Therapist who introduced a simple “hour routine”. The boy was assigned jobs every hour. He collected the morning tea from the tuckshop. He collected the lunches. He signed out the sports equipment. He unlocked the science room. He ran errands to the office. By getting up once and hour and moving his grades suddenly improved. He then received help from a tutor trained in kinaesthetic learning who helped transform his most difficult subject concepts into physical concepts. Instant improvement.
There are so many different ways that students can learn and study while being a kinaesthetic learner. Read more study tips for kinaesthetic learners here.
The most important step is securing the right team
Young kinaesthetic learners may run the risk of misdiagnosis with ADHD or worse, be branded a “naughty kid”. Getting the right team behind your child, to advocate for better classroom flexibility, and to help interpret the curriculum to optimise their learning. Talk to your school, your principal, occupational therapist, or a child psychologist is your first step to better learning outcomes. This is a huge part of our approach and strategy for students. When your child starts with A Team Tuition, our tutors determine their preferred learning style. We then build tutoring sessions around that style, interpreting the curriculum to meet their needs. That’s why so many of our students achieve remarkable results, even after failing with other tutoring companies.
Do you suspect your child may be a kinaesthetic learner? Talk to us!
If you’ve seen examples of kinaesthetic learning traits in your child, our team is more than happy to discuss ways to nurture their academic career. Simply call us to discuss your child’s needs. If Greta Thornberg has taught the world anything, it’s that extraordinary people can change the world. Your extraordinary little learner deserves every chance to reach their full potential too.