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Kinesthetic Education - Learning and Movement

Posted by Brian Spence on Oct 3, 2016 1:56:42 PM

EducationAs Thomas Edison said, “Great ideas originate in the muscles.” Kinesiology is the study of human movement. Kinesthetic learning incorporates movement with learning. Exercise promotes a process known as neurogenesis, i.e. your brain’s ability to adapt and grow new brain cells, regardless of your age.

In the first years of a child's life they are learning to move and communicate. Once they get into school, those two things seem to be separate.

Mind and body are meant to work together. Our bodies were designed to move.

Expecting a child to sit still for the better part of six hours is unrealistic; but schools have been doing this for generations. Learning and moving are not mutually exclusive activities.

In this age of digital diversion, kids aren't moving as much when they are not in school. The sandlot and the hopscotch pattern have been usurped by Mario Brothers and Minecraft. More and more, the intellect from the body are perceived as two distinct entities. This will become for acute if our kids are allowed to become more sedentary as they mature. And with the reduction or elimination of Physical Education in may school districts, The American Heart Association says that obesity rates in children have risen over 300% since the 1970s.

An elementary school in Charleston, South Carolina is addressing this with the first kinesthetic classrooms. Incorporating movement with learning is proving to reap measurable benefits. How is it better than traditional "reading and writing and rithmetic"?

In Stacey Shoecraft's room at Pinkney Elementary, every desk is a veritable exercise machine. Students learn while striding, spinning, pedaling or moving in some way. It certainly helps kids with excess energy. Shoecraft wishes these had been available when she was struggling with attention problems as a youngster, "When you allow a student to move, they are in a better mood and more receptive to learning." She has observed that tactile strategies and movement aids in short and long term memory. Tactile learning aids in understanding new concepts and improves academic success.

Coordinator of PE for Charleston schools, David Spurlock is an enthusiastic proponent of combining classroom lessons with exercise. He believes, " More movement equals better grades, better behavior, better bodies.

Kinesthetic classrooms may not become the dominant mode of instruction in every American classroom; but it could influence the evolution of education as successful outcomes increase.

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