Get your classroom moving!

Posted: 20 May, 2016

By: Annemarie Lombard

Section: Education


Notice how Kim Bevill does not stop moving during her TEDx Talk, The magic that makes the brain learn. Pathways from the brain’s centre of motor control have connections to parts of the brain that are involved in memory, attention and spatial organisation.

Movement also:

  • Increases heart rate → increases blood flow and oxygen to the brain → enhances brain activity → enhances learning
  • Helps to narrow attention to target tasks
  • Is processed by the same part of the brain that processes learning
  • Stimulates multi-sensory learning, which promotes information retention
  • Movement stimulates multi-sensory learning, which promotes information retention

Why move in the classroom?
“Regularly-scheduled movement breaks throughout the day and movement used within and between lessons results in better-behaved, more engaged students who can more easily focus on and retain what they are supposed to be learning”. Source: Creativity Post

Physical activity + quality instruction = increased brain compatible learning

“Using movement thoughtfully and purposefully at all grade levels and in all content areas provides a valuable opportunity to create powerful learning experiences. From the brain’s perspective there are six critical reasons to add more movement in the classroom. They include:

  • The brain is attracted to novelty and is pre-programmed to notice differences. Therefore, using creative and innovative strategies that infuse movement into instruction allows the brain to stay connected for longer periods of time.
  • The brain wants the body to move. The brain is stimulated and naturally learns through the movement of its own body. Using movement to teach content creates a very natural and efficient way to learn.
  • The brain is a social organ that needs to interact with people. At varying levels, we are all social creatures and crave human engagement and attention. Interactive, cooperative experiences provide the brain with an optimal environment to flourish socially as well as intellectually. Movement activities encourage cooperative learning experiences.
  • Learning is primarily an emotional process. When the individual cares about what is being taught, the brain remembers and retrieves information more effectively. We are our emotions; they practically run our lives. Experiential movement is a productive way to create a positive, fun, and engaging classroom environment that enhances the learning process.
  • The brain operates from concrete experience. Exposing the brain to “hands-on” learning experiences is critical to memory and retrieval. The brain prefers active, not passive, learning. The more student movements are aligned and connected to instruction, the more profound the learning process.
  • The brain is always trying to create a reason for learning. Movement creates increased brain connectivity which enhances higher level problem-solving and critical thinking skills.”

Source: New Jersey Education Association

About Sensory Intelligence®
Sensory Intelligence Consulting was founded by Dr Annemarie Lombard in 2003. She has a PhD in Occupational Therapy and practised with children with learning difficulties for 15 years. She works with a group of esteemed Occupational Therapists and facilitators to deliver Sensory Intelligence® as a training and development tool in South Africa and abroad. Our primary objective is to empower and equip teachers and parents so that our children can learn and develop optimally. With loads of energy, passion and commitment we share our knowledge in a practical, easy to understand and no-nonsense way. We want happy kids, happy families and schools that really nurture learning.

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