26. 10. 12. - 13:36
Movement helps kids with language learning
A middle school in Carinthia is encouraging children to learn through movement by putting exercise bikes throughout the building to replace study corners.
Eesearch into learner types has shown that children learn more effectively through a combination of listening and movement.
As a result the new middle school in Spittal has an Information Technology focus and the classrooms are fully equipped with the latest computer technology which requires children to sit in front of computers for hours at a time.
Recently however a few things have changed because during the break between lessons the children go into either the assembly hall or the corridors, and sit at one of over 40 exercise bikes that the school brought in over the summer holidays.
The school’s headmistress Helga Spitzer said: "We know, of course, that there are different types of learner – visual, kinaesthetic and aural. Many school children are kinaesthetic learners. We notice that if we combine aural with kinaesthetic teaching, learning success is doubled."
The children prepare flashcards which they use to question one another during their time on the exercise bikes. The school also has a 30 minute reading break every day and the time on the bikes is then spent going over material.
The changes in Carinthia come at a time when obesity and lethargy among children is rising in Europe and research into this problem is resulting in a number of theories and new teaching methods.
The German sporting expert and child educationalist Jens Keyssner carried out the first study into the effectiveness of movement in the school environment. He claimed that children in ‘moving schools’ had a big advantage over other children because those forced to sit at desks for extended periods of time would often attempt to compensate by an excessive movement during the break period – which often resulted in an increase in aggression.
In contrast such aggression was less often exhibited by children allowed to move on a regular basis.
Able to hop on exercise bikes during their breaks, the participants in Spittal have already noticed an improvement in their performance in the classroom. Teachers have also noted early learning success. Additionally, if the attention of the class dwindles during lessons, the teacher gives them time to move around and clear their minds.
Students in Spittal are also encouraged to juggle when their concentration falters and there are balls at school for them to do so. 500 balls have already been supplied by the school and the children practise every day. At Spittal middle school, juggling has become the latest craze and the balls are often taken home by students to practise. Students can even cycle and juggle at the same time.