Do you have students in your class who can barely sit through your lecture because they are just dying to get up and get their hands on a head of hair? Chances are, that student is a bodily/kinesthetic learner.
This is the learner who dislikes sitting for too long and prefers to be able to get up and move around, usually on their own schedule. They learn best when the information is presented to them by means of a demonstration or hands-on involvement and they can connect it to real-world experiences.
This student enjoys hands-on activity. Now that doesn’t mean that we avoid lecture altogether. But we do have to find ways to break up theory with some sort of movement, and that doesn’t always mean practical hands on.
The Bodily/Kinesthetic Intelligence is one of Howard Gardner’s 9 Multiple Intelligences.
In the classroom, find ways to keep them engaged. Use activities such as:
Games like role-playing, Pictionary, charades.
Involve them using their hands like play-dough when teaching color theory or chalk outlines on the sidewalk during anatomy.
Experiments that allow the student to touch and feel what they are working on.
Re-arrange the classroom and allow them to change seats and positions in the room.
Energizers such as dancing, stretching our using your elbow to spell out key words from the lesson is a great way to quickly get them out of their seats, allowing them to refocus.
Involve this student by having them assist you with the practical demonstration or by leading the energizers.
The student salon was meant for this leaner. But there are still a few things to consider.
Do their Own Work. Let them check their own cuts, with your supervision. Don’t take the shears out of their hands. Teach them how to do it, show them how to do it and then let them do it while you observe. Don’t create the guide, walk them through it and let them do it themselves.
Agenda for Down Time. During downtime have projects for them to work on such as classes to attend, videos to watch, discussions to participate in. Keep them busy and moving. Don’t just have them sit and do their workbooks.
Organize. Get them to help organize the perm rods and dispensary (don’t ask the verbal/linguistic student to do this one!)
Motivation Crew: Let them oversee the “motivation crew”. They can be a cheerleader for the school/students, actively looking for and acknowledging successes (high fives, thumbs up, etc.) throughout the day.
Teaching Assistant: Let them help deliver practical demonstrations. It’s always hard for everyone to see, so have multiple demonstrators to help with that. Besides, they will get more out of demonstrating than from watching. They can practice ahead of time and do it for you prior to the class so you can see that they are doing it correctly.
These are just a few teaching methods you can incorporate into your toolbox to better reach the bodily/kinesthetic student. Remember that not all students will be bodily/kinesthetic learners, so although we want to incorporate these ideas, we want to make sure that this isn’t all we are doing.
Be sure to check back for future posts to see how to reach the other learning intelligence.
Lisha Barnes is a Cosmetology/Barber Instructor with over 25 years of experience. She started out in a small private school working in Admissions, Financial Aid, Education, and School Director. She was a Director of Education for a chain of Private Cosmetology schools. Currently she serves as the Academic Development Manager for Milady where she supports schools and educators around the nation with continuing education, curriculum development and product knowledge. Lisha has served as an Educator for Milady’s Career Institute; NACCAS Commission; Career Educators of America Committee Member; and has authored numerous writing projects for Milady. This industry experience allows her to see the industry from a variety of viewpoints, which helps in sharing information and ideas with educators all around the world.