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Kinesthetic Language Learning – Creative Language Learning Series

Kinesthetic learning can be odd and somewhat awkward in the field of languages. Before we move on what is Kinesthetic Learning? Kinesthetic learning is the act of using movement, and physical activities to acquire knowledge. It is the exact opposite to that of audio and visual learning.

You may be wondering how kinesthetic learners fit into the whole language learning “thing”. The answer is clear, movement.

Am I A Kinesthetic Language Learner?

There are giveaway traits that almost every kinesthetic learner has. Most of them have to do with… you guessed it, movement! Let’s go over a few of the traits that kinesthetic learners tend to possess. 

  • Have a hard time sitting still in a learning environment
  • Tends to need background distractions while studying
  • Learns more effectively when actively engaged with the material
  • Generally more coordinated than their peers
  • Great hand-eye coordination  

The Relationship Between Movement and Learning

There is a biological link to movement and learning. It isn’t too hard to comprehend either. Imagine you were back in the paleolithic era, where you still had to hunt for your food. Movement meant action. Back then, some millions of years ago movement triggered a survival response that pushed more oxygen throughout the blood, heightened our senses and made us more sensitive to forming new connections.

Movement during the act of language learning doesn’t sound important, but can you imagine how awkward a still conversation would be? Have you ever sat in a job interview without any gestures being made? Without movement, the conversation becomes a kind of stiff, uptight serious activity, and we don’t want that. Nope, nope, nope, nope. We want conversations full of life!

How You Can Take Advantage Of  A Kinesthetic Learning Style

Language learning in a kinesthetic fashion might seem strange to some extent, but there are some extremely effective methods to do so. Just so you know, I’m writing this article from the perspective of a kinesthetic learner. But, don’t let that distract you from the fact that these methods are still highly relevant and effective for language learning. 

I suggest you try them out, see how they feel and if you enjoy any of them you can add them to your study routine. Kinesthetic learning is without a doubt the most enjoyable form of learning there is, and I say that as a fact. Anyone who disagrees with me can square up and send me an email.  

The Kinesthetic Methods

Walking and Talking

All you really need to do is move. Taking a long walk while reading a book, going over vocabulary words or even having a conversation in your target language is a great way to make a connection between your body and mind. Walking in general also refreshes the mind and gives you a sense of clarity.

Re-enacting dialogue presentations

When reading dialogue from a textbook just isn’t enough, you can bring the whole thing to life! Back in my first year, Japanese class, I suggested we copy the dialogue in both speech and manner. That meant that we acted out the dialogues depending on how we felt the situation went down. We inserted imaginary hair flips, hand waves, facial expressions and anything else we felt that belonged in the dialogue besides just words. 

The Ultimate – Immersion

Kinesthetic learners will thrive in an immersive environment. The stimuli present in an immersive atmosphere is more than enough to satisfy an active language learner. Interacting with natives, studying and even working in the environment most akin to your target language is the ultimate kinesthetic method. 

Don’t Knock It Till You Try It

Language learning doesn’t consist of just one learning style, it is multi-dimensional. You’re more likely to be combining audio, visual and kinesthetic learning styles throughout your journey. Nevertheless, this article was meant to be a reminder that it doesn’t hurt to integrate physical movement into an art that is purely communication-based. 

If you’re interested in some more fun movement-based language learning activities you can check out our worksheet for a checklist!

Worksheet

Kinesthetic Language Learning Worksheet

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