The best way for students to learn is by seeing the importance and value of the information given to them. Thus, if the material presented before them fails to be interesting, chances are they will not learn it. Consequently, in order to achieve the ultimate aim of students to learn, it is important to utilize several teaching methods and have the classroom environment be as interactive and stimulating as possible. Students can be categorized in different ways. Some are visual learners, others auditory learners and others kinesthetic leaner’s. While visual learners learn mostly by means of graphs, charts and pictures, auditory learners on the other hand, learn by reading and listening to the lecturer. The kinesthetic or tactile learners learn by doing things practically (Parris and Whiteley, 2008). Students may prefer to use either of the three, chose on two or use all the three methods. Because of the existing different learning styles, the teachers are expected to incorporate activities related to each of the learning styles in their curriculum so as to incorporate all students in the learning.
This paper is going to focus on the tactile type of learning style, how it works best and it’s pros and cons. Tactile style is characterized by learning taking place in a way that the students are expected to carry out physical activities and not just looking at the instructors demonstration or listen to a lecture. Tactile learning is also commonly referred to as kinesthetic learning and the people making use of this style of learning are known as do-ers. The use of this type of learning can be traced back to Howard Gardener in the book ‘Frames of the Mind’: The Theory of Multiple Intelligence (Parris and Whiteley, 2000). Initially, kinesthetic and tactile were two different learning styles before they were coupled. At that time, this type of learning involved the use of body in the creation of something or doing something. Gardner argued that activities such as conducting surgery and dancing required kinesthetic intelligence. By the end of this paper, the student should be able to realize that Tactile learning style is better than the other two learning styles but this will depend on the learning environment and the subject of study.
Characteristics of Tactile/Kinesthetic Learning Style
Students who show signs of learning by natural discovery are the best suited to use this learning style. They do most of their realization by acting rather than thinking first before taking the initiative to act. Such students will at most times be seen to struggle while learning through, listening or reading. Kinesthetic learning requires students to move around and this increases their understanding, thus better marks in exams. The style works best in disciplines such as sporting experiments, scientific experiments, acting and art. Students utilizing tactile style of learning are able to focus on more than one thing at the same time, like studying or learning while listening to music. Their memories rely on remembering things by tracing back their minds on what their bodies did. They also show receptors that are very quick and hand-eye coordination that are very high. The learning involves students making use of their bodies to express their ideas, thoughts or how they have understood a particular concept in any field. These kinds of students stand out in any learning environment as they constantly move because of their high energy levels that make them restless and agitated. Their long and short memories are strengthened using body movements (Dunn and DeBello, 1999)..
The learning mostly involves physical sensation and touching. The thinking involved is anchored by touch and movement, usually in three dimensions. It is regarded as the best form of learning as application and demonstration works better in the illustration of ideas than using words. Tactile style of learning is an active learning style that is more effective and easier rather than sitting around thinking, listening or planning on a course of action.
How Tactile/Kinesthetic Learning Style is conducted
This type of learning is best administered by the use of assessment tools. This can be done by assessing the learning progress through explaining the events generated by each student as they brief on the topic of study. By doing this, the teacher or instructor will be able to realize whether the learner understands the topic of study or requires to assess the learner in depth and in detail. This approach is totally different from the use of standardized exams where teachers just administer to learners and depend on them heavily to know their academic progress. This method controls the impulse of the learners and when they are reigned in the right direction, the active learner will be in a position to accomplish great feats. The body movement of the learner is used as the tool to help in understanding and gaining knowledge. Hence, the teacher should create a movement which will enable the students to establish new knowledge or extend the already existing one. The learning process, involving body movement, is done in a way that the learner makes use of language in defining, resolving, and explaining the ways in which their body movements reflect the idea being explored. There are several factors that the teacher has to look at while administering this style of learning which include, the learner having breaks in between the learning sessions (Dunn and Griggs, 2000).
Positive associates and importance
Learners who have gone through the tactile learning style are associated with many positive things. Such learners are always able to remember everything they do. This is because; such type of learning enables the students to develop good motor memory as well as coordination. The active learners are generally quick witted and react more precisely in finding solutions to many issues, be it in school work or in life. A good demonstration of such ability is where an active learner may fail to remember the direction of a particular place but can easily get into a car and drive to the same place without a second thought (Scagliotta, 1967).
Cons of Tactile/Kinesthetic Learning Style
Kinesthetic learners usually have short attention span and gain less from long lecture learning environments. Such environments make the learners seem hyperactive or disruptive because the energy in their body always try to keep their minds active. The result of this is that learners engage themselves in annoying tricks like pen clicking, foot tapping and finger tapping. Some people may interpret this as a means of disrupting or annoying other students or the teacher. This is not the case as active learners are always in need of some kind of physical connection or do some activities so as to remember things. The learners going through this kind of learning styles are often considered to be unprepared or unorganized and thus, lacking future plans (Mixon, 2004).
There are many different learning styles but that doesn’t mean preferring one to the others is making a mistake. The choice of the learning style mainly depends on the type of learner in question and the concept being conveyed. However, education systems should be diversified in such a way that they include the different learning styles so as to accommodate all sorts of students and validate success for every learner. If possible, teachers should be able to identify each student’s best learning environment. By doing so, the learners will be vast with all the available learning styles thus unlock their potential. Though there are varying learning methods, kinesthetic methods stands out as best suited for the active students and in practical and experimental disciplines. This type of learning style has enjoyed preference from most learning institutions, teachers, parents and children especially with this globalization era. The learning style is associated with several disadvantages but is mostly out of misunderstandings. This is because; most of the learning system and environment are not ready for such a learning style. This does not mean that the students who best adapt to this learning method cannot be subjected to other learning styles. They also require other learning styles, especially during the subject of study changes and its best suited to use a different learning style. The nature of active learners will allow them adapt to such changes though at times with difficulties.
Though many parents and students appreciate this method as a preference to the others, there are no strong evidences to indicate that a particular learning style results to a better outcome, as in most situations, more than one learning method is used. Following this, more sample researches should be conducted on particular learning styles to justify their validity. It is also advisable for the learning systems to be included with most of the learning styles, to meet the dynamism in the education sector and different students’ abilities. The choice of learning style on specific learners should be identified early enough to save them from the agony of experiencing hardships in their studies whenever the styles used do not go well with their understanding.