Kinesthetic: what is kinesthetic memory?

Kinesthetic: what is kinesthetic memory?

A person with kinesthetic memory will associate their memories with sensations rather than images or sounds. She will therefore tend to memorize more effectively when she is in action.

What is kinesthetic memory?

Responsible for sorting and retaining information, memory plays a key role, both in the development of our personality traits but also in our ability to learn. We can distinguish three different types of memory:

  • Auditory memory: the person will remember more easily thanks to the sounds he hears;
  • Visual memory: also called eidetic memory, the person relies on images or photos to assimilate and memorize;
  • Kinesthetic memory: the person needs to feel things in order to remember them;

The term was popularized in 2019 by Valentine Armbruster, specialist in pedagogy and learning difficulties and author of “Overcoming academic difficulties: neither dunce nor dyslexic… Maybe kinesthetic?” (ed. Albin Michel).

Inspired by her own background, the book looks back on her author’s school years and her difficulty in learning in the traditional school system. “I had the impression of being drowned in an ocean of intangible information, of hearing a foreign language being spoken, too abstract,” she explains in the columns of Ouest France.

Memorize through sensations and body movement

A kinesthetic person will associate their memories more with a feeling and will need to do in order to learn. It’s not a disease or a disorder, “It is to have a mode of perception of reality which passes in a privileged way by the movement, the physical or emotional sensations; it is to need to do in order to understand and therefore to learn ”, explains Valentine Armbruster in her book.

How do you know if you are kinesthetic?

To support kinesthetic students towards a learning method adapted to this bodily intelligence, the Commission scolaire de Montréal offers an online test allowing them to find out their dominant profile. “60% of people have a visual profile, 35% are auditory and 5% kinesthetic”, details the site. For Valentine Armbruster, people with sensory memory would rather represent 20% of the population.

Among the questions mentioned in the test of the Commission scolaire de Montréal, we can for example quote:

  • What do you remember about a person when you first meet them?
  • What do you remember most easily by heart?
  • What is most important to you in your room?
  • How do you remember a stay by the sea?

How to learn when you have a kinesthetic memory?

Building, playing, touching, moving, dancing, kinesthetics need to experience and practice things to register them.

Traditional learning methods make more use of visual memory and auditory memory: sitting in front of a blackboard, the pupils listen to the teacher. The kinesthetic needs to be in an active posture to be able to experiment and therefore learn.

How to support kinesthetic students and avoid academic failure?

For starters, “work in places you like with a good atmosphere and avoid working alone, advises the Commission scolaire de Montréal. Organize reviews with someone you like. ”

For Valentine Armbruster, the problem is not the school curriculum, but rather the way of teaching which should be adapted to also meet the needs of kinesthetic students. “The school must support the pupils in their discovery of themselves. I am convinced that being able to experiment, create and be autonomous could give them more self-confidence once they reach adulthood ”, underlined the author in an interview with Le Figaro.

Some examples to study and learn by doing:

  • Use educational games;
  • Find examples of concrete cases or anecdotes pretexts to illustrate a concept;
  • Set up role plays;
  • Do exercises to apply what we have learned;
  • Understand and make sense of what we are doing.

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