Everyone has their own individual way in which they are best able to learn. In education, there are 12 different multiple intelligences that define ways in which children learn. These intelligences range from visual/spacial to bodily/kinesthetic. The bodily/kinesthetic model includes both tactile and kinesthetic learners. While tactile and kinesthetic students are similar, there are significant differences, and helping these two different types of learners requires using different teaching skills.


Tactile learners best learn through the sense of touch. These learners love to use their hands to learn new information. Students who are tactile learners may become easily distracted or frustrated with material presented in visual or audible lessons only. The tactile learner will learn best when using their hands. Tactile learners also tend to be very emotional and sensitive individuals.

Kinesthetic Learners

Kinesthetic learners use the whole body while learning, and usually have a high level of gross motor-skill controls. This makes kinesthetic learners exceed in areas such as athletics, acting and dance. Kinesthetic learners also struggle with teaching styles that involve only auditory and visual lessons. These students may constantly wiggle in their chairs, and teachers may confuse the kinesthetic learner with a child who is hyperactive.

Teaching Tactile Learners

The best way to reach tactile learners is to get their hands involved. Ask the student to take detailed notes. If the student is reading text, ask the student to highlight, using bright colors, areas of the text that interest them. Teachers should allow tactile learners to access technology such as calculators and computers to keep the students engaged, as well as give students hands-on activities when needed. Tactile students should also use a manipulative device when completing math problems to keep their hands engaged while answering the problem.

Teaching Kinesthetic Learners

Kinesthetic learners need to move and be involved in their learning environment. This can include having these students assist in lab experiments or act out a scene from a story that is being read by the class. Teachers should allow a kinesthetic child a chance to move around periodically. Kinesthetic learners also respond well to technology by using games and simulations on the computer. These games allow the kinesthetic learner to demonstrate their hand-eye coordination and keep him engaged in the activity. Kinesthetic students should treat school just as they would prepare for a game or performance. Encouraging the kinesthetic learner to prepare for a test by reviewing notes or taking pretests can help the kinesthetic student achieve more effectively.