The Importance of Movement in Learning

Great blog post from Monisha Karnani at the Center for Inspired Teaching discusses the importance of physical movement to aid student learning. She states:

“Movement is a powerful teaching tool, and when we as teachers thoughtfully incorporate physical elements into instruction, we elevate the learning experience.”

Sadly, there are plenty of classrooms where quiet, still environments are demanded.

“Yet despite research proving the lasting benefits of serious play, too many of our classrooms remain still, silent places, lacking any element of physical movement.”

I appreciate the discussion of this important topic. Years ago, a parent confided in me the struggle one of her sons was having in school. He had trouble sitting quietly and attending. Sure, we have medications that help some kids with this, but she wasn’t sure there was anything wrong with her son, and suspected that he just wasn’t built for the traditional classroom.

“A hundred and fifty years ago,” she said, “he would have been an apprentice somewhere.”

Wow. An apprentice. That really hit me.  Not a child who spent his time sitting at a desk. A child who was doing to learn. It also made me wonder, are the majority of our kids built for the traditional classroom? Sometimes it seems to me that we are struggling to fit them into a very unnatural mold. Of course, there are, and always have been, teachers who are comfortable a classroom where active, sometimes noisy learning is the norm. These men and women are my heroes. Now, as we gain more and more knowledge about young people’s need to move, I hope it will inspired more teachers to incorporate more movement (and of course the noise level that often goes with that) into their classroom teaching.

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