Forty years ago, when I started teaching in 1972, it was not unreasonable for a teacher to require all students to sit still in class. WOW, have times changed. It is not only unreasonable to require that students sit still, it is impossible for some (like me). I was quite the fidgety one when I was in school and sometimes I am still in constant motion. It is impossible to sit still and be quiet for lengthy periods of time for boys especially, it can be torture.
Now research has shown us that motion can stimulate the brain for better learning and increase energy. We can use this to our advantage. Robert Marzano has written a few thoughts about this topic and I have included an excerpt below. I hope you find this useful!
Robert Marzano on Using Movement to Boost Learning and Attention
(Originally titled “A Moving Proposal”)
In this Educational Leadership article, author/consultant Robert Marzano says getting students moving increases engagement and learning:
• Movement that deepens understanding – Some ideas:
– Give one, get one: Students stand up, find a partner, compare notes on a topic, then sit down and record new learning.
– Voting with your feet: The teacher poses an A, B, C, D multiple-choice question and students go to the wall where the teacher has posted that letter and justify their answer.
– Corners activity: Students are divided into four groups and spend five minutes in each corner discussing a question posted there – for example, What characterizes civil disobedience? How can it advance democracy? Impede democracy? When have you used civil disobedience? A student recorder stays in each corner and writes ideas from each group, sharing them as each new group arrives. The recorders then present a summary to the whole class and students come up with generalizations.
– Drama: A math teacher might have students do brief sketches illustrating mean, median, and mode.
– Body representations: A math teacher might have students form a rectangle and a square.
• Movement that boosts energy – Sometimes standing up, stretching, or running in place can be used to energize students when their attention is waning and their brains need an oxygen boost.
“A Moving Proposal” by Robert Marzano in Educational Leadership, April 2012 (Vol. 69, #7, p. 88-89)