05 Mar Why Should Teachers Incorporate Movement?
Most kids grow up automatically fidgeting – leg tapping, nail biting, or playing with their hair. When in a classroom environment, that can be extremely bothersome for some people and they may also be distracted from learning. Well fear not, because there are some solutions that will help even the worst fidgeters.
Most schools not only ignore the latest research on the best teaching methods, but the groove of “sit still and listen” is what they think works. Fun fact! That’s not true. Yes, it may be more quiet and you might be able to have more control over students, however they aren’t going to be able to concentrate as much if they could be “working out the wiggles.”
Regular movement has been shown to increase focus and retention in everyone. Moving helps children regulate and it therefore has been shown to lower rates of behavioural problems. It would make a lot more sense to implement healthy movement policies in schools so children will grow up with the habits that not only help them learn best, but also help them become healthy, active adults in the future.
Teachers and schools can make a big difference in their students’ lives by incorporating movement into lessons, classrooms, and/or school day. An emphasis on regular breaks for movement should be incorporated into every classroom, into every lesson, and be made an important part of every school policy.
How do I start implementing healthy movement in my classroom, you ask?
Recess, for starters, is a given. Kids can run around, play with their peers, and engage in physical activities. While in class, teachers can incorporate movement in their lessons such as asking a multiple choice question and having children move to whichever side of the room as an answer to the question. They can also teach with the “sit still and listen” groove for half an hour, and then give the students 10 minutes for movement breaks. Classroom games are also a great way to incorporate movement in lessons, some of which I found here.
The human body needs to move in order to pump blood throughout the body, which improves brain function. Same thing for people (myself included) who work in an office at a desk for 8 hours a day: getting up and moving around will not only wake you up when you feel like sleeping at your desk, but it will also help you concentrate when you do sit back down. I would love to be able to sit in a rocking chair at my desk! I’m a leg-tapper and I always want to be moving, so imagine how these young kids feel being stationary all day.
There are more and more products being introduced for this reason – wobbling stools (here) and rocking school chairs (here). Wouldn’t it have been nice if we got these options when we were in school rather than the boring and traditional wooden or hard plastic chair?