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Physically Active Learning

Discussion in 'Education news' started by psacr, Mar 7, 2017.

  1. psacr

    psacr New commenter

    Dear all,

    I thought this article from a colleague and I at Loughborough University on physically active learning might be of interest.


    We know many teachers are doing great work in this area already and we would be very interested to hear about your experiences (good or bad!) of trying out classroom physical activity, and your general thoughts on this area. If you have opinions on our article please do start a dialogue by commenting on it, we'd love to hear from you!

    Many thanks,

    Ash Routen
  2. chelsea2

    chelsea2 Star commenter

    This isn't new.
    I introduced it in a primary school i worked at at least 10 years ago.
    It foundered after a couple of terms because:

    a) As far as the staff were concerned, it took up 10 - 15 minutes each morning / afternoon session (i.e. up to 2.5 hours a week) which they felt they couldn't spare. That's 15 minutes of silent / group reading / handwriting / spelling practice / basic maths skills - tables etc which you are missing. Such is the pressure in primary schools, especially KS2, teachers were loathe to give up any time. That pressure has increased in the last few years.

    b) Like any initiative, over time, the children lose interest / enthusiasm, and so merely 'go through the motions'.

    It was a good scheme, as are many others, but few schools will be prepared to find the time in today's climate.
  3. psacr

    psacr New commenter

    Thanks for your comment Chelsea2. You're certainly right that active breaks, and to some extent active lessons, aren't a new concept. Also your experiences and concerns certainly echo the views of some teachers involved in our work.

    I would be really interested to know if regarding point 'a' if you or colleagues found any difficulty in getting the children back on task following the delivery of the activities?

    Were there particular resources, or a particular programme which you utilised at the time?

    chelsea2 likes this.
  4. chelsea2

    chelsea2 Star commenter

    No difficulty getting the children back on task.
    The programme was 'Activate' (Val Sabin) - a progressive programme, which increased in difficulty as the children got older.
  5. pair_of_argyles

    pair_of_argyles Occasional commenter

    Just get rid of the chairs and give them desks they have to stand up at, to use
  6. hhhh

    hhhh Star commenter

    I think it would be a good idea if all workers did activity as part of their working day-let's be honest, lots of people are too tired to go to the gym,but would be willing to do short sessions of aerobics/walking/yoga if they were paid for it-and it would save the NHS a fortune and reduce sick time (probably).
  7. slingshotsally

    slingshotsally Star commenter

    I'm sure this was all the rage about 17 or 18 yrs ago.

    When the children got restless, we asked them to stand behind their chairs and do movements to help different sides or parts of their brains to balance out...

    I've just done a google..BRAIN GYM. I'm not sure exactly if the science behind it ever made sense, but the kids enjoyed watching the teachers make fools of themselves and they enjoyed the (minimal) light relief from the work. It was good for a giggle.

    Is this a new version of Brain Gym?


    There are a LOT of these..
    Last edited: Mar 7, 2017
  8. Bobbbs

    Bobbbs Occasional commenter

    It's a mixed bag.

    Generally it's a fad that comes and goes.
  9. psacr

    psacr New commenter

    Thanks for all of the comments folks.

    Our approach to this has been to provide some light touch CPD for teachers so they can then integrate active routines, breaks or lessons as and when they see utility. We've provided example ideas to our teachers, but veered away from providing prescribed lesson plans or reams of glossy printed resources that end up in the bottom of a drawer.

    A number of teachers involved in our work have raised the Brain Gym issue and we have been quite clear that an active classroom (routines, breaks and lessons) does not include Brain Gym.

    In terms of the underpinning research there is now quite a bit of evidence to support educational benefits arising from the implementation of active breaks and lessons e.g. improvements in attention to task, enjoyment of lessons, motivation to learn and in some cases and for some pupils achievement. Here's a small selection of the evidence base: http://classpal.org.uk/research

  10. circuskevin

    circuskevin Established commenter

    Hi @psacr ,

    I had a Loughborough University researcher come along to a circus workshop I was doing at a special needs school once.

    I pointed out the benefits of using various equipment to help the mobility needs of these pupils. Discovered a lot more since.

    I picked a 3 year old lad with spina bifida out of his wheelchair a couple of years ago at an event in North Wales and popped him into one of these hand operated ones. Quickly became a tearaway. Last year, at the same event, I met his new foster dad, an ex prep-school teacher who said his life had been 'transformed'. The lad had a little mobility in his legs so this time I popped him into another type of cart which required simple leg movements. Slowly he started to move off. For the first time in his life he could use the power of his legs to become mobile.

    His foster dad said that none of the hospitals had any idea of the sort of equipment which can help these children. It is all readily available.

    Just one story amongst many.

    Give us a ring on 0121 414 0094 if you like.

    There are lot of good ideas which need documenting and made available to the school community at large.

    Last edited: Mar 8, 2017
  11. lulu57

    lulu57 Lead commenter

    There was some physical learning going on in my classroom today...I explained the task to a child and he ran off! :rolleyes:
    ViolaClef and Laphroig like this.
  12. Whiskas

    Whiskas New commenter

    We are implementing the Daily Mile on our small campus. It equals 20 times round the playground! The children can walk, run, sprint or skip, or a mixture. They are becoming competitive. I can't see a knock on effect on behaviour or learning but they are becoming fitter. As am I.
  13. psacr

    psacr New commenter

    Thanks Lulu57. I think I'll steal your joke for use in some of our presentations!

    Interesting you mention the daily mile Whiskas. We are also doing some work on a similar initiative called Marathon Kids. What time of day are you doing the mile and have there been any barriers to implementing it?

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