Boys find it hard to sit in a place and learn. Many education professionals are convinced their brains are wired differently from their female counterparts. Not only do boys find it difficult to concentrate if they are still for extended time periods, they actually learn bу experience . Girls develop concepts, questions and answers through discussion and verbal interaction; boys talk less and do more. A study at Sydney’s Kings College revealed that girls spoke thousands more words during lunch and recess breaks; regardless of whether they were involved in passive or active recreation activities.
In the interaction of games, movement, competition and activity, boys learn through trial and error; as if in a total immersion experience. In a world where more and more activities see boys staring into screens, learning is a number game,the application of academic processes within movement experiences. Where teachers correctly combine movement and activities into theoretical lessons, boys engage more fully with the content and the lessons’ experience. It doesn’t take long for improved engagement to show up in test scores.
Although we can’t be certain of the complete impact of less movement in the lives of children, we do know a lack of flexibility or joint movement through a full range of motion impacts on quality of life. Gen X and Y populations show health defects from excessive use of computers and smart devices; eyesight deficiencies, lazy eye muscles which require corrective lenses or result in an inability to focus or have migraines. The first severe cases of tendonitis in forearms, fingers not being able to be fully straightened are being seen by doctors and physical therapists. The simplest and most complete treatment? Move it or lose it.
Is it time we asked is there a non-sedentary way of teaching? Can we make sure our classes and classrooms are more ‘boy’ and movement friendly? What physical changes to the classroom space, or what rules are restricting boys learning in particular?
When boys attention starts to drift, increasing blood flow to the brain provides glucose and oxygen to improve the brain’s ability to think. Before starting lessons, set up a signal for the start of a break; a clap, bell, alarm, eggtimer. Start each teaching block (maximum of 10 minutes in length) by demonstrating and having children practice their next break activity.
Take note of how your class responds, and what type of activities work best for them. Some classes really enjoy dance / music, some want tasks that involve small groups whilst others want an activity which directly reinforces or uses the content they are learning.
Why does this improve effectiveness of lеаrnіng?
Why should children be seated still, silent and stuck on a problem, when they could be involved in a learning process which moves them around the room to different locations and methods of examining and critically analyzing different possibilities. If tasks like this are set up as group tasks, it improves children’s social skills at the same time.
Providing a range of seating, standing and lying options is another great opportunity to move or learn differently. Swiss balls, barstools and standing tables or benches, beanbags or mats on the floor, cushions or lounge chairs all provide different spaces for children to move to, enjoy and move on.
Activities or music whilst children move to their next station are another great way to actively engage minds that want to drift away. (This is not to say that dreaming or day dreaming are not vital to children. They are!)
Boy-to-boy аnd ѕtudеnt-tо-tеасhеr rеlаtіоnѕhірѕ are a key component іn ѕuссеѕѕful lеаrnіng . Rеѕеаrсh hаѕ shown that fun, safe environments where bоуѕ are kind and ѕuрроrtіvе оf оnе another еԛuаtе tо greater academic success.
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Ryan Williamson is a gymnastics and movement expert.
His personal experience of slipping through education's cracks gives him an unmatched passion to ensure his 3 young children learn in using methods that suit them. He has developed gymnastics based programs to improve academic test scores, numeracy, literacy and creative thinking. Read Ryan's story - above *My Story*