Thursday, April 06, 2006

Tactile learning

If your child doesn’t look at you when you’re talking to her, it doesn’t necessarily mean that she’s not paying attention. On the contrary, it may mean that she’s listening so hard she is not able to look at you at the same time. That’s because her preferred mode of input may be via her hands, not via her ears or eyes.

Tactile learners touch things to get a sense of them. They learn by handling objects. If they have to use their listening skills, they prefer to supplement that with a tactile activity like clicking a pen on and off.

To interest a tactile child in books (which is the first step towards teaching them to read and write), let her hold the book in their hands during the reading session, as opposed to placing it on a table. Let her turn the pages, point to the pictures, trace the word lines. For babies and toddlers, the “Touch and feel” books with textured pictures are best.

When the child is ready to start learning the alphabet, cut the individual letters out of small-grained sandpaper and let her trace their grainy surface with her fingertip. Buy three-dimensional magnetic letters to stick on the fridge. Make letters together from play dough. Bake letter-shaped cookies. Let the child write and draw with her fingers in fine sand.

Tactile children of school-going age will most likely find the traditional teaching methods (via the blackboard and auditory lessons) a challenge. Augment their learning by encouraging them to make models of what they’re learning, create textured maps and complete educational jigsaw puzzles. Help them make the very learning tools they need, such as flip chutes and wrap-arounds and electro-boards. (Feel free to contact us for instructions on how to make those.)

Your child’s Learning Style Analysis (LSA) report on will tell you whether your child is a tactile learner and whether they will respond well to tactile learning tools.

(Inspired by Maria Montessori, who said: “Never give to the mind more than you give to the hand”.)


EcoRover said...

I had a student who listened to lectures while knitting (instead of taking notes) and she did superbly on tests.

Is there any studies that you know of that explain or investigate how this works?

If so, please email me at -- thank you!

Yvonne Walus said...

Our LSA pyramid ( explains that finger stimulation enhances brain activity and memory recall in people with tactile preferences.

The LSA show how tactile a student is so that the teacher can support/react accordingly.

We'll be happy to offer you a sample profile credit to trail.

Erin said...

Just wanted to thank you for this post. My 2nd son is a tactile learner. We home school and he is learning his letters so I needed some ideas (besides playdough) to help him learn his letters.

Yvonne Eve Walus said...

Erin, have you tried the following ideas:
- spreading a thin layer of sand on a tray or table surface and letting your son write the letters in the sand
- the same but with flour, which has a totally different texture (ask afterwards whether he liked them equally much or had a preference)
- cutting out letter shapes from sandpaper (the very fine, non-abrasive kind) and letting him trace the shapes on the rough side with his finger
- letter-shaped cookie cutters and real cookie dough?
- letting him glue letters cut out from different materials (cardboard, leather, thick fabric) onto a piece of paper?
- letting him make his own letter shapes with glue and glitter?

Remember, a tactile child will enjoy MAKING things, so he will soon be able to help you make learning tools such as wrap-arounds and flit chutes. If you want to know how to make those, please email me on yvonne at clc dot co dot nz

Willjax said...

I don't think tactile learning means "non-book-student" if you know what I mean by that. I think the schoolbook writers and publishers should design their books to suit this learning style insted of the other way around. Take this book for instance: It's 50% book 50% constructing kit that teaches kids about mechanics and machines. Thats how I would like school-books to be!

Yvonne Eve Walus said...

Hi Willjax, thank you for that. The book looks awesome, what a cool idea! I see, though, that a few customers complain the plastic parts are badly made and difficult to use - what's your experience?