Mid-Semester Check In
It’s hard to believe that it’s already October! We’ve had a chance to get settled into the school year by now and we’ve made some great relationships with our students. Now that we understand the students we have this year, it’s a great time to check in with ourselves and reflect on our goals for the remainder of the academic year.
If you’re a teacher, what are your goals for this school year? Is there something in particular you want to add to or remove from your teaching practice? If you are a parent, what are your goals for your child this school year? What changes could or should be made in order to benefit your child & their performance at school? Where did you and/or your child direct your time, focus, and/or energy … and is this still serving you? I encourage you to take the time to reflect and find some answers.
For me, my goal for this year is a little more abstract and involves a more indirect route of implementation. My goal is to impact classroom education across my school district by providing more education to teachers & school staff around movement based learning and classroom layout. Ultimately, I want to continue expanding my role & sphere of influence as a school-based physical therapist to improve learning outcomes & participation for ALL students across the district. Thus, this month will focus on the ways school-based physical therapists can impact learning in the classroom utilizing these strategies & techniques.
Movement Based Learning in Action
Today, I want to briefly discuss movement based learning: what it is and why it’s beneficial? Next week I’ll go over the research behind it and give some examples!
What is movement based learning? Simply put, movement based learning is a concept that utilizes physical activity & movement to assist learning and aid overall cognitive development. In movement based learning, active movement is integral and improves the learner’s ability to attend to the content and retain the information. Overall, movement based learning is natural & innate to us as human beings. Before the traditional school model was implemented, humans learned through hands-on experiences that involved movement such as walking, squatting, reaching, running, jumping, etc. while interacting with and exploring their natural environment.
The unfortunate truth is that educational systems modeled in this traditional way often result in poorer engagement from students who become passive participants in their education in turn resulting in a shallow, disengaged manner of learning and rote memorization.
The traditional model of education & learning which is the predominant approach in the U.S., is counterintuitive to this natural learning process as students are typically desk-bound and instructed to listen and take notes. The unfortunate truth is that educational systems modeled in this traditional way often result in poorer engagement from students who become passive participants in their education in turn resulting in a shallow, disengaged manner of learning and rote memorization. In recent years, the push has been to shake up this traditional model with movement breaks in between lessons, movement & physical activity built into the school day (recess & PE), and/or for lesson plans to utilize movement (movement based instruction). Ultimately, movement based learning has been shown to increase memory retention & recall, attention & focus, creativity, and problem-solving skills.
Hopefully you find this post informative & thought provoking! I’ve been excited to share more information on this topic as I too learn more about it and look for ways to implement more movement throughout my students’ school days. Tune back in next week for more on movement based learning and instruction!
See y’all next week!
Catherine C. Skelton, PT, DPT
Pediatric Physical Therapist