Language Learning|April 13, 2011 9:46 am

4 Strategies for Bodily-Kinesthetic Learners

This post is part 3 of an 8-post series providing language learning strategies based on Howard Gardner’s Theory of Multiple Intelligences. If you are not familiar with the theory, click here to read a quick overview.

What are bodily-kinesthetic Learners?

Bodily-kinesthetic learners are people who are very in touch with their bodies. They are good with their hands, and they enjoy using movement, making things, and touching objects. They can be found in a range of professions, from dancers to surgeons. These are the type of people who tend to communicate as much with their body language as they do through spoken words. If you are a bodily-kinesthetic learner you will learn well through physical activity, role playing, acting out various scenarios, and all types of hands-on learning. You should incorporate physical objects and tools into your learning strategy.

Learning Strategy 1

If you are a bodily kinesthetic learner, you need to get your hands on real objects, so, when learning basic vocabulary words, do just that. For example, if you want to learn the names of basic kitchen items, then start collecting those items and using them as study tools. Instead of using flash cards to memorize, for example, the names of eating utensils, get real knives, forks and chopsticks and put them into a box. Memorize their names by reaching into the box, pulling out an item and reciting its name in your target language.

Learning Strategy 2

Role playing is a powerful tool for anyone learning a foreign language. It is especially powerful, though, for bodily-kinesthetic learners. If you are one of these learners, you need to find a partner ASAP. There is an unending supply of role-playing activities when learning a new language. For example, you can act like you’re in a restaurant, a travel agency, or a hotel. You can ask each other for directions or have mock business meetings. You can even spend an entire day together, acting like tourists or tour guides, or anything else you like. The important thing is to communicate as much as possible using your target language.

Learning Strategy 3

If you are a bodily-kinesthetic learner, you are good at acting out, which means you most likely deliver passionate speeches. You may or may not be a great speech writer, but that’s not important here. What’s important is the delivery. So, what you can do is go online and search for famous speeches that have been translated into your target language (there are lots of them in just about every language). Memorize the speeches and then deliver them to your friends and family members.

Learning Strategy 4

Building things is a powerful way for bodily-kinesthetic learners to remember things. How can this help you learn a language? Well, say you want to learn how to discuss family in your target language. You can actually build a family tree. It doesn’t have to be too sophisticated or time consuming. You can use paper and other objects, or just draw a picture. It’s the act of creating something with your hands that will help you learn and remember.


Using Howard Gardner’s Theory of Multiple Intelligences is a powerful way to design your personal language learning strategy. When using it, you must understand that the particular learning styles best for you are the ones that you will gravitate towards naturally. In addition, you must understand that you can, and should, use more than one style. Finally, only you can decide which learning styles are best for you.If you are a bodily-kinesthetic learner, you need to be active. Don’t just sit at a desk and memorize vocabulary words. If you do, you will become bored and lose interest in your studies. Instead, collect physical objects and use them as study tools. Be sure you stay active, building, creating and performing as you learn. If you are a bodily-kinesthetic learner, use the 5 techniques outlined above. If not, choose from the other six learning intelligences.

Bye for now, and good luck with this and all of language learning endeavors!

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