The human body was designed to move, which is why movement improves learning. People seem to be realizing this fact for adults, hence the movement for standing desks. But children need movement too! Expecting young people sit quietly for long stretches of time is not only bad for their health, but it also makes learning more difficult.
The more you have young people sit quietly and attend, the more opportunities you should give them to stand, stretch, and converse. Movement brings more oxygen to the brain; therefore, learning becomes more efficient. Additionally, many children are kinesthetic learners, meaning they need to have their body engaged and moving in order to comprehend and retain information.
If you are a teacher who fears allowing students to engage in kinesthetic activities because it would be like letting a dog off a leash for the first time without knowing obedience come-back calls, then your mental image can be changed by practicing procedures.
You will meet with success if you have used an attention management procedure. For example, raise a hand showing “give me five” (two eyes on the teacher, two ears listening, and one mouth closed). (The visual is on page 97 of the Resource Guide.) Explain that you will continue teaching when ALL hands are raised. If someone has not raised a hand, it is the students’ responsibility to prompt that person to follow the procedure. Most important, take a few minutes to practice for “quiet” and “attention.”
When learning a procedure, the steps to keep in mind are:
- First silently
- Then in pairs
- Then in small groups
- Then in large groups/whole class
How do you find that movement, or lack of it, affects the way you and the young people in your life learn? Please share your thoughts on the Without Stress Facebook page.