Impact on the Brain and Body in the Context of Gardner's Multiple

Bodily-Kinaesthetic Intelligence and the Impact of Movement on the Brain and Body

Gardener proposed that each person constitutes various intelligence degree in the domains of verbal linguistic, visual-spatial, mathematical-logic, music-rhythm, social, bodily kinaesthetic, intrapersonal and nature (Narad, and Rani, 2019). The submission by Gardner formed a basis of multiple intelligence theory which defines the learning approaches, capabilities, interests, and tendencies of individuals. Gardner had initially proposed seven forms of intelligences; the first two being of these forms being mathematical intelligence which are typical in school, the next three being visual spatial, bodily-kinaesthetic and musical rhythm which are associated with artistic skills and the next two; social and internal which he termed as personal intelligence. Eventually, Gardner added the last form intelligence known as naturalist intelligence (McNeil and Dixon, 2015).


Bodily kinaesthetic intelligence refers to the ability to express oneself with movements, facial expressions, and gestures with the help of effective coordination of the body and brain, creating a product using a part of the whole body or the entire body (Narad, and Rani, 2019). The development of bodily-kinaesthetic theory demonstrates a need for a change in education towards a system which considers the integration of movement since this motion impacts the cognitive and psychomotor motor domains of learning. Kinaesthetic learners learn best when they can move around and partake their big and small muscle groups. The learners thus learn best by doing which makes traditional lecture-based learning irrelevant to kinaesthetic learners.

According to Smith (2009), the body of a kinaesthetic learner connect with the brain when he/she learn by doing. In traditional lecture-based delivery, the kinaesthetic learners’ brains are engaged but their bodies are not which makes it cumbersome for them to process information presented to them. The learners thus get curious to stand up and move around to synthesize create meaning and store information in their brains. Kinaesthetic learners are advantaged in different ways. The learners are characterized by excellent hand-eye coordination, excellent performance in sports, art and drama, quick reactions, impeccable motor memory and good in experiments (practical).

Kinaesthetic learners require moving about their bodies to learn, which might make some teachers interpret their reputation as disruptive and boring. This conception has led to integration of kinaesthetic learners’ needs into educational curriculum. Mobley and Fisher (2014) found a close link between bodily kinaesthetic intelligence and the objectives and content of creative dance. Creative dance seeks to harness the free kinetic expression of feelings and ideas through the exploration of kinetic abilities of learners. Additionally, the application of various learning aids such as balls, hoops, newspapers and scarves during creative dance sessions enables learners to grasp their use and consequently improve their manipulative capacities (Pérez-Sabater et al., 2011).

Kinaesthetic learners learn best by doing. In the realm of physical education where infants learn best by exploring their environment through play; the quality of the learning experience depends on the quality of experiences. Like John Dewey, other psychologists such as Montessori, Rousseau and Piaget believed that physical environment played a critical role in the development of kinaesthetic intelligence of young learners. John Dewey theorized that young infants learn from the social interaction with the environment and are motivated best through the intrinsic desire to discover wonders in their perceptions of the world. John Dewey’s experiential learning and multiple intelligences reflect on the use of the body and mind in learning (Narad, and Rani, 2019).

The academic fields of neurology, kinesiology, neurobiology and cognitive neuroscience have sought to exemplify how the physical processes of the brain affective cognition. Most of the studies in favour of kinaesthetic approaches to brain-based learning have not gained entry to literature. However, Fegley, (2010) argued that most of the linkages between learning and movements are being explored in cognitive neuroscience. Holt, Bartee, and Heelan, (2013) study evaluated the impact reinforcing communication in infants through symbolic gesturing on verbal language development. The study concluded that children who applied symbolic gesturing were faster in verbal language development mastery than non-gesturing peers.

Wagner (2014)’s study demonstrate the linkage between the applications of kinaesthetic expressions through children’ symbolic gesturing and increased language development. The findings supported the application of other forms of kinaesthetic expression including writing words in sand, by elderly infants and their progressive language development. Goodwyn and his colleagues studied 103 children, 58 boys and 45 girls dominantly from white, English speaking and middle-class extractions (Wagner, 2014). The children were isolated into three groups; two control groups and one treatment. The treatment group acquired parental reinforcement and modelling of symbolic gesturing associated with verbal word for the action or object. One control group received no any treatment as that which the treatment group acquired and was not informed about the study’s intention. The other control group was initiated to integrate the training effect and experienced parental verbal labelling of many objects in a daily routine. Every child was tested for expressive and receptive language development at ages 11, 15. 19. 24, 30 and 36 months; and data analysed based on multivariate analysis of variance for multiple language measure such as length of utterance, phonemic discrimination and one-word picture vocabulary test. The experiment concluded that symbolic gesturing as a kinaesthetic expression of language greatly elevates learners’ receptive and expressive language acquisition.

The importance that educators believe movement has on pupils’ educational outcomes

Besides offering children the capacity to acquire intellectual abilities, research shows that kinaesthetic lessons allow them to learn at different levels. Kroflič (2009) studied the effect of creative movement on young people. These individuals studied the impact seen in activities such as guided creative movement on the young people’s creative thinking. Kroflič (2009) also studied creative movement as a method of learning and teaching in various school subjects like science, mathematics, and language and how this method influenced children’s creative thinking. This assessment of the experiences that teachers have demonstrated a positive influence from this teaching approach on pupil’s tolerance, co-operation, interpersonal relationship, self-esteem, memory, understanding, and motivation. The results of the study also demonstrate that the relationship between children and their teachers improved significantly. These researchers argue that creative movement influences children to become creative thinkers. They say that creative movement is a holistic teaching approach that can stimulate children to learn by allowing creative thinking to be effectively transferred from one movement (non-verbal modality) to a drawing (non-verbal modality).

According to Geršak, Tancig, and Novak (2015), creative movement is a holistic learning and teaching approach that is accepted well by both teachers and children. Findings from their study show that creative movement can lead to better or improved senses in children and can lead to both therapeutic and preventive effects. In their research, Geršak, Tancig, and Novak (2015) analysed the application and impact of creative movement, relaxation techniques as well as in teaching and learning in lower grade school programmes. Geršak, Tancig, and Novak (2015) found that creative movement is most important for children as it helps them to be comfortable and relaxed during learning. Additionally, they develop creative thinking and relate well with one another and their teachers.

Pupil Motivation to Informal Learning and Retention of Content (Engagement)

Kraft and Dougherty (2013) claim student engagement has been considered as an essential issue which is faced by independent educators and modern systems of education. These individuals claim that this issue, which started in the mid-1990s, has gained much attention as an entirely easily understandable issue because when students are engaged, they become more likely to achieve set learning objectives, both in formal and informal learning. The researchers say that such students are less likely to stop attending their classes. On a similar note, Wang and Eccles (2013) say that informal activities or different school and community activities can improve the performance of children both academically and in various informal events. These activities can also enhance the relationship between children, parents, and teachers where they can be involved in activities that will allow them to know each other and discuss different aspects of their learning progress and development.

Research by McNeil and Dixon (2015) shows children can be motivated to engage in informal learning activities through accreditation and qualifications. They say that different activities that offer children the opportunity to receive qualification or accreditation can either be a positive or a negative influencer for informal learning. These researchers say that educators often have mixed feelings around incorporating the elements of qualification or accreditation in informal learning. McNeil and Dixon (2015) claim that qualification and accreditation can involve taking some tests, either physical activity or in form of examinations. The researchers say that although these can be positive motivators, the perception of practitioners on their application of this approach vary because while some look at the method as a motivating factor, others believe that qualification and accreditation can act as barriers since they are more concerned with engagement rather than formal results. Therefore, there are neither failures nor expectations in the approach. However, McNeil and Dixon (2015) say that creating a challenge for children can give them the confidence to take on the challenge and engage themselves to receive the final prize.

Moreover, Wang and Neihart (2015) found that by subjecting pupils through emotional engagement, children can become more empowered. These individuals say that emotional engagement can be achieved by praising children and affirming their understanding and intelligence as well as providing different learning strategies and compensation to make them overcome frustrations. Wang and Neihart (2015) conclude that family engagement can result in effective partnerships between children, parents, and teachers and can act as a significant influencer for a student to engage in different education processes successfully. Eraut (2012) support this idea by stating that the relationship between an educator and the pupil can be used to motivate a pupil to show improved informal learning and content retention. Eraut (2012) says that knowing a child well and establishing a relationship with the child plays a vital role because the child becomes more trusting and willing to engage in the learning process.

On a different note, Leftheriotis, Giannakos, and Jaccheri (2017) argue that interactive displays can also be used to motivate children to engage in informal learning. They say that informal environments can act as a medium for improving the engagement and creativity of pupils because it provides them with a bigger interaction area, opportunities for co-experiencing interactions, co-creating artefacts as well as the chance to work in groups while using play, a process known as gamification. Randler, Kummer, and Wilhelm (2012) support this notion by stating that when a student engages in informal outdoor activities such as visiting the Zoo, their ability to retain learned content improves significantly.

Specific kinaesthetic-movement teacher training available for educators

Turning to the specific training on kinaesthetic learning available to educators, it is clear from the review that the opportunities for trainee teachers whilst at university, to learn about kinaesthetic practice are limited. Researching the modules of the top UK universities for BA-Primary Education with Qualified Teacher Status (QTS), revealed that although students would be learning professional pedagogical practice, there were no modules that appear to promote a unit made specifically for kinaesthetic influenced teaching practice. However, Post University, educator training in this area is available through a number of external organisations, most of which are private enterprises, although with some funded/supported by government bodies such as Arts Council England (ACE).

Movement and its relationship to brain development is the aim of contemporary education systems. Pérez-Sabater et al., (2011) presented educational kinesiology as the application of movement to excite learning abilities. Various kinaesthetic-movements training for teacher have been availed to inspire delivery of content through doing. Sifft & Khalsa (2011) study on educational kinesiology measured the motor performance concerning response times after Brain Gym. The study came up with motor performance to be improved. Smith (2009) suggested that kinaesthetic learning is plunged into a big mess due to inadequate resources, and inadequate research concerning its effectiveness. The scholar also noted inadequate government policies in history in favour of kinaesthetic learning.

To address challenges pervading kinaesthetic learning, Newton (2015) suggested many ideas such as producing collaborative projects to widen educators’ experiences and allow their inclusion in vital projects inspiring kinaesthetic leaning and development. Sharing resources, expertise, and audiences in various projects is a building block in implementing for the overall status of kinaesthetic learning.

Newton (2015) proposed a teaching training revolving around four major pillars namely concrete experience, followed by reflective observation, abstract conceptualization and active listening. Abstract hypothesis and reflective observation will equip instructors with abilities to deliver inside level of learning based on the conception that learners learn cognitively and begin to construct meaning of the content by their own. Most instructors reflect on the cognitive domain of learning and overlook the outside domain. Active testing and concrete experience enable learners to integrate active testing of their ideas. The learners are capable of finding value in their learning, and educators are reminded to active testing ought to be a process but not just the answer. Active testing offers a system for another concrete experience to conceive a circle again (Wang, and Eccles, 2013)

Contemporary training has focused to instil knowledge about how movements impact cognitive functioning. On this note, a cognitive function has been defined as the process by which a learner is capable of perceiving, recognizing and understands ideas or thoughts. Pérez-Sabater et al., (2011) demonstrated how cognitive function was influenced by movement. Anatomically, the region on the brain linked with motor functioning is known as the cerebellum, which is also associated with attention, memory, and perception thus suggesting a link between movement and cognitive functioning.

Vazou, and Smiley-Oyen (2014) s’ study demonstrated a connection between the body and mind, and suggested that movement activities regardless of their typology lead to better learning and attention. It is under this conception; educators are trained to integrate hands-on approaches in learning sessions. Hand-on approaches excites learner to involve themselves directly in learning experiences. Marzano (2012) studied whether movement and learning would better long term memory and discovered that learners retained information when movements were involved than in the medieval teaching methodology.

Integration of music in learning experiences is another key concept which has benefited cognitive functioning. In conjunction with movement, music enables learners to actively engage and enjoy learning. The integration of music and movement provide an excellent opportunity f to reinforce the link between neurones. Cognitive, perpetual and motor abilities become active through the links between nerve cells. The benefits which learners accrue from movement and music include; linkages between neurones are reinforced resulting in cognitive, perpetual and motor abilities thus becoming able to evolve. Holt, Bartee, and Heelan, (2013) demonstrated to educators that there are various approaches for integrating movements into their lecture or presentations in pursuit to elevate cognitive functioning and concentration in classrooms.

VARK theory if learning styles, teaching and learning is constructed on the prospects of personality traits, social learning, and information processing and instruction preferences. Out of these needs ascend various learning styles namely; Visual, Auditory, Reading and Kinaesthetic (VARK). Based on this theory, introducing different assignments increases learners’ capacity to grasp the education content and will act as reinforcement towards the acquisition of the intended learning content. It is out of these convictions that Wagner (2014) drafted lessons on the premise of preferred learning styles of learners, of which 68% preferred kinaesthetic approaches.

Camahalan, and Ipock, (2015) proposed important tips for educators when starting to create active testing activities. The scholars proposed to instructors to be ready to discover that which learners possess in their minds and be willing to adopt lesson discussions or activities based on those ideas. In addition, instructors ought to provide meaningful feedback to learners’ actions and ideas and take the learners serious. During the designation of lectures, instructors are advised to ensure their active testing is prepared to keep learners concentrate on the assignment at hand and ensure that active testing is coinciding with the learning objectives the instructor seeks earners to achieve.

Lastly, Dewing (2009) proposed strategies for making kinaesthetic teaching more viable and suggested constructing upon concepts and experiences which learners already have ideas about. This conviction relates to what McNeil, and Dixon (2015) proposed early concerning beginning with learning inside using active testing to construct on what the learner already masters. Dewing (2009) also proposed providing information on kinaesthetic teaching to a group of learners for them to grasp the intention of learning experiences they are part of.

Teachers experiences of implementing movement into lessons

Confidence Issues because of the lack of formal training

Currently, in most primary schools, dancing is included in the arts' major learning sectors and has its outcomes. However, as future dance teachers as well as forms of art, and how the pre-service primary educators perceive their confidence concerning dance is very different. Evidence suggests that school art programs can promote learner's ability to learn more actively and engage with school. Currently, there is a gap in our know-how in regard to how confidence Issues due to lack in formal training affect the implementation of “movement” into lessons. Studies argue that one factor that hinders effective learning and teaching in primary learning institution is lack of confidence in educators. For instance, while reviewing literature, Garvis & Pendergast (2011), suggest that primary school educators who were surveyed had no confidence in teaching dance/music. The study also suggests that music was a subject which resulted to a lot of stress among the teachers and in their teaching. Moreover, Liu (2011) states that ways in which educators perceive themselves based on their artistic abilities is directly connected to the level of effectiveness and confidence they showed. Liu (2011) also suggests that there are two crucial and corresponding elements attributed to educators’ self-perception. They include teaching self-efficacy (personal sense of whether they possess the required abilities ad skills to help student learning), and the other factor is personal beliefs concerning one’s preparedness to educate students. Additionally, a study that included 936 pre-service, non-specialist primary school educators from South Africa, Australia, the USA, Ireland and Namibia, showed that, there was significant differences in the way responses from female and male pre-service educators in relation to both background and confidence in dance education (Russell-Bowie, 2013).

Other studies in England and North America have suggested something similar to the preparedness issue of the of generalist primary teachers (Marzano, 2012). The study also suggests that in the UK, the values, as well as attitudes, are crucial to the purpose and role of the music education. While criticizing the form of curriculum, Barnes (2015) argues that ‘people expect [generalist primary] educators to teach subjects they have no knowledge of and often what they do not have interest in.' A lack of support as well as value for the creative arts in studying at a systemic level can interfere with the already low esteem levels of the creative arts’ teachers. This could probably explain the teacher's experiences of implementing movement into lessons.

Pressures teachers have on curriculum demands and therefore, not implementing a more ‘practical’ approach

While implementing a more ‘practical' teaching approach represents a positive step in raising education standards and understanding of students, some of the Pressure that teachers have on curriculum demands create a less appropriate environment to achieve success. Some of the factors that result in failure to implement a more ‘practical' teaching approach include lack of teaching and learning resources. In many schools, procurement and supply of resources are limited. Dowd (2016) suggests that instructional materials and equipment, especially for generalist primary teachers, are all in short supply or never available at all and this makes the implementation of this ‘practical' approach very difficult. Moreover, the study suggests that with the rapid population increase, classrooms are overcrowded which means that students are forced to share whatever available with teachers as well as fellow students. In such circumstances, teacher effectiveness is reduced therefore becomes impossible for an educator to render individual pupil attention due to the large numbers of pupils. This also hiders ‘practical’ approach curriculum implementers to effectively carry out their roles.

Dowd (2016) also discovered that poor time management by the school administrator's hiders ‘practical' teaching approach. Mostly, the implementation of a curriculum or new subject is hindered by activities in learning institutions. Most schools take most of the time of activities such as assemblies and meetings which last for several hours. This means that a teacher has limited time to apply some of the [practical approach while still examination and syllabus completion pressure mounting. A study conducted by Marzano (2012) on the effects of central inspections on three successful schools showed that those educators felt professionally compromised, stressed and intimidated by the method of the inspection, therefore, there was lack of a lasting effect on what teachers teach. The study also traced the impacts of imposed standardizations and concluded that educational standardization results to harm on the teaching and learning process.

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Furthermore, successful practical’ approach implementation usually implies a change of habit; I.e. cultural change. On the other hand, Changes involving values and beliefs are difficult to implement and therefore take time and persistence. This means that teachers require to learners of the worthiness of such change and give confidence that this change will produce better results. We can say that with these challenges, the implementation of a more ‘practical' approach may never be achieved in some schools.


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