The Physical (Bodily-Kinesthetic) Learning Style

The physical (bodily-kinesthetic) learning style, of the Memletic Learning Styles

If the physical style is more like you, it's likely that you use your body and sense of touch to learn about the world around you. It's likely you like sports and exercise, and other physical activities such as gardening or woodworking. You like to think out issues, ideas and problems while you exercise. You would rather go for a run or walk if something is bothering you, rather than sitting at home.

You are more sensitive to the physical world around you. You notice and appreciate textures, for example in clothes or furniture. You like 'getting your hands dirty,' or making models, or working out jigsaws.

You typically use larger hand gestures and other body language to communicate. You probably don't mind getting up and dancing either, at least when the time is right. You either love the physical action of theme park rides, or they upset your inner body sense too much and so you avoid them altogether.

When you are learning a new skill or topic, you would prefer to 'jump in' and play with the physical parts as soon as possible. You would prefer to pull an engine apart and put it back together, rather than reading or looking at diagrams about how it works.

The thought of sitting in a lecture listening to someone else talk is repulsive. In those circumstances, you fidget or can't sit still for long. You want to get up and move around.

Common Pursuits and Phrases

Pursuits that involve the physical style include general physical work, mechanical, construction and repair work, sports and athletics, drama and dancing.

You may tend to use phrases like these:

  • That feels right to me.
  • I can't get a grip on this'
  • Stay in touch.
  • Get in touch with'
  • That doesn't sit right with me.
  • I have good feelings about this.
  • My gut is telling me'
  • I follow your drift.

Learning and techniques

  • If you use a physical style, use touch, action, movement and hands-on work in your learning activities. For visualization, focus on the sensations you would expect in each scenario. For example, if you are visualizing a tack (turn) on a sailboat, focus on physical sensations. Feel the pressure against your hand as you turn the rudder, and the tension lessening on the ropes. Feel the wind change to the other side, feel the thud as the sail swaps with the wind, and feel the boat speed up as you start the new leg.
  • For assertions and scripting, describe the physical feelings of your actions. For example, a pilot might script as follows: 'I feel the friction as I push the throttle forward to start my takeoff run. The controls start to feel more responsive as I check the airspeed, oil pressure and temperature. At takeoff speed, I pull back slightly, and I feel the vibrations of the wheels stop as the plane leaves the ground. After a few moments, I reach down and set the gear selector to up. I feel the satisfying bump as the gear stops fully up.'
  • Use physical objects as much as possible. Physically touch objects as you learn about what they do. Flashcards can help you memorize information because you can touch and move them around.
  • Keep in mind as well that writing and drawing diagrams are physical activities, so don't neglect these techniques. Perhaps use big sheets of paper and large color markers for your diagrams. You then get more action from the drawing.
  • Use breathing and relaxation to focus your state while you learn and perform. Focus on staying calm, centered, relaxed and aware. If you want to gain more control over your physical state, look up some references on Autogenics. This was a secret behind the great Russian athletic performances over the past few decades.
  • Use role-playing, either singularly or with someone else, to practice skills and behaviors. Find ways to act out or simulate what you are learning.

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