Students should be physically active in classrooms

At the recent National Association of Head Teachers (NAHT) conference in Liverpool, UK, school leaders are calling for “physically active learning” to be made an integral part of teaching. Mr Bryn Llewellyn, a former school leader from Yorkshire, who is leading the discussion, said that taking part in physical activity in class can help students retain facts and boost their academic results.

In fact, a study conducted with Leeds Beckett University, found that students who took part in active lessons gained seven per cent more marks in mathematics than students in traditional sitting-down lessons.

Mr Llewellyn said that: “Traditional learning approaches limit educational creativity and academic performance, while also negatively impacting on physical activity and health. Physically active learning combines movement and learning.”

His comments come amid concerns about obesity levels among children. A recent report found that four in five obese school children are likely to be dangerously overweight for life. Thus, he calls for all teachers and school leaders to look at ways to increase and embed creative opportunities for teaching and learning, which he cites as crucial in the face of the increasing problem of sedentary lifestyles.

This article raises many salient points and interesting findings. We should never underestimate the importance of physical activity for holistic well-being. If research is consistently supporting the benefits of physical learning, perhaps it is also time for us to look into incorporating more movement and physical-based activities into our classrooms as well.

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