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Whole-Body Learners – Some Techniques and Resources

on June 18, 2012

“If an educational act is to be efficacious, it will be only that one which tends to help toward the complete unfolding of life. To be thus helpful it is necessary rigorously to avoid the arrest of spontaneous movements and the imposition of arbitrary tasks.” Maria Montessori

“Respect all the reasonable forms of activity in which the child engages and try to understand them.” Maria Montessori

Perspective is important for all of us as we work with children. As the quotes from Maria Montessori above indicate, it is important for the adults in a child’s life to be open-minded and observant of their actions. We can help children more by trying to understand their natures than to arbitrarily impose our own (or someone else’s random) set of expectations on them.

Every person has their own individual set of needs and gifts which can and should be embraced and encouraged, rather than stifled. Do you have a student or students who seem to be always moving? Do they seem to need to learn through “doing” and/or physically “feeling” their lessons? Do you have a student who has been identified as ADD?  You might be dealing with a “whole body learner”.

This special type of person (child OR adult) often finds traditional classroom and work environments frustrating, and well-meaning teachers, parents and employers sometimes get frustrated with these learners as well.

Mariaemma Pelullo-Willis of the Learning Success Institute provides some inspiring perspective and helpful ideas about tailoring strategies for this category of learners in her informative article, “The Whole Body Learner – Gifted for Moving!” She illustrates many ways whole body learners can fully (and physically!) engage in their studies for gained confidence and comfort,  and for successful results.

For more on this subject, see also Mariaemma’s “Basketball and Whole Body Memorizing” lesson ideas.

Both articles are available here: http://www.amonco.org/summer2/montessori_summer2.pdf

If you’re interested in exploring more about this fascinating subject of lesson planning for different intelligence types, you might also enjoy the following articles:

“Multiple Intelligences: Seven Ways to Approach Curriculum” by Thomas Armstrong, Ph.D. http://www.thomasarmstrong.com/articles/7_ways.php

“Learning Styles of Children”, By D.H. Sailor   http://www.education.com/reference/article/childrens-learning-styles


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