Let’s talk the vehicle we were born with! Our body is a moving force of energy constantly interacting with our environment. Bodily-Kinesthetic intelligence is how the body is connected to learning. The attributes of this intelligence control one’s bodily motions, the capacity to hold objects skillfully, sense of timing, and the ability to train responses to become like reflexes. The word ‘coordination’ keeps coming to my mind as I visualize these attributes. If a person’s intelligence is dominated by the strengths of this form, he/she learns best by getting up and moving into the experience-doing something, rather than reading or hearing. In short, these people remember things through their body. This intelligence is demonstrated in athletes, pilots, dancers, surgeons, musicians, actors, soldiers, and police officers.
As a teacher, this form of intelligence always stood out to me; for most people it probably easily stands out. The athletically inclined and coordinated people tend to stand out in a crowd. They radiate confidence. Maybe their confidence is related to their comfort level within their body? What is important to remember is this intelligence is not focused on sports; sports are more of a result. I had a student who could play any sport you introduced him to, but sitting in a chair to write was gruesome. I finally let him do his work while standing. He stood at his table and slightly wiggled almost the whole time he completed his work. He stayed quiet though and effortlessly completed the task at hand. His body needed to be moving! I sometimes wonder what happened to this student as he moved on to other schools and upper grade levels. Did someone suspect he had ADD or ADHD because he couldn’t remain still? Was he forced to train his body to sit and learn? Next time you have a student who can’t sit still, before you jump to conclusions remind yourself about our bodily-kinesthetic intelligence. I suggest starting here before any medical conditions are suspected. As for grown- ups that feel you have strengths in this arena, hopefully you have a job in which you get to “move about”. I suggest doing a challenging task while you are moving. For example, try studying for something while working out. If you have to memorize important info, first get it in your brain, and then think about it over and over as your body is moving. This idea doesn’t only apply to the athletically inclined, we all need to move! Mind, Body, Spirit!! Anyone who wants to integrate the intelligences can try this.
I can’t help but think of how babies and toddlers use this part of their intelligence to process their whole world. Little people are always moving! It may be no big deal to us “big” people, but to the brand new baby who is waving her arm around, her world is at her fingertips! The toddler jumping off the curb is actually learning many scientific principles. To think every nerve ending in our body is rooted in our foot. No wonder I love a good foot massage! Learning to walk must be a fabulous experience; wish I remembered it. Luckily, I somewhat experienced it again when my daughter learned to walk. Her world, and ours, changed quite significantly when this milestone was reached. Now that I think about it, the world became at her footsteps then and her intelligence ran with it!