Knowledge through Movement- improving children’s holistic health

Knowledge through movement (KTM) promotes and allows children to be physically active during school time. This leads to improvements in knowledge, memory and health. It also allows children to be more open to physical activity outside the school environment. It aims to break away from the conventional concept of set training times and introduce children to the idea of movement in any form is training.

KMT concept is we as humans have brains because of movement. A perfect example of this is that of the sea squirt an animal that swims around in water before finally settling and cementing themselves to a fixed spot. This creature in its larvae phase has a brain because it swims. Once it anchors itself to a fixed point it digests its own brain and lives its remaining life span filtering food carried to it by the sea.

How does physically activity improve focus?
The average student can concentrate for approximately 10 to 15 minutes, while motorist concentrations skills are even less! Using various techniques and movement helps to maintain student concentration levels through being participators rather than just observers. Railway employees in Japan use ‘shisa kanko’ which incorporates hand gestures, speech and movement to maintain focus. Using speech and specially designed gestures reduced mistakes by almost 85 %.

Activity increases blood circulation and enables the brain to use a greater number of sensory inputs to reinforce memory and learning capabilities. Plus, the increase in physical activity allows the brain’s hippocampus region (involved in memory) to remain healthy and reduce the negative effects of aging.

Why is play so important?
Watch a child when they try to mimic their surroundings. Play is movement, it teaches the children social skills, creativity, communication and interaction. Unfortunately, as children become older there is a reduction in physical activity and an increase in sitting still. However, this is being addressed with initiatives such as standing instead of sitting and outdoor pedagogy.

Using simple movement enables children to be a part of the learning experience, tailoring it to them. For example, a simple exercise: Run around a designated area for a period of time, count laps then using this information you can work out you average speed.
The human memory system is just like a computer, our short-term memory, hippocampus (RAM) stores information during the day. While we sleep it is filtered and stored to our long-term memory, cerebral cortex (hard disk). That is why students cramming the night before an exam is counterproductive, lack of sleep affects memory negatively by up to 30 %.

A 2011 study at Duke University found that a student’s capacity to concentrate is one of the best predictors of success. The researchers studied more than 1,000 children in New Zealand over a period of eight years to track their ability to pay attention, then followed up with them as adults to measure their health and financial stability. Those with more self-control were less likely to have difficulty with money or health problems.

Susan Cook, University of Rochester research paper ‘Consolidation and transfer of learning after observing hand gesture’ found that students who used congruent gestures (mindful movement) were 3 times more likely to remember- long term content than those who were not permitted to use movement (speech only).

However, memory is affected negatively by constant unfocused movement which create a white noise affect in the memory. Just imagine drumming on a table while attempting to listen to your teacher.

Summary:
A recent report from the World Health Organisation showed that “Globally, around 31% of adults aged 15 and over were insufficiently active in 2008 (men 28% and women 34%). Approximately 3.2 million deaths each year are attributable to insufficient physical activity”
KMT aims to challenge this trend by getting children more active. It enables the students /players to be active participants thus improving their engagement and interest. KMT allows also for schools to become holistic safe environments, improving focus, learning and wellbeing.

The World Health Organisation aims for children to have at least 60 minutes of physical activity per day. KMT allows for this goal to be achieved easily. Introducing 10 to 15 minutes movements every hour positively effecting academic standards and children’s wellbeing.

References:
Exercise training increases size of hippocampus and improves memory
Kirk I. Erickson, Michelle W. Voss, Ruchika Shaurya Prakash, Chandramallika Basak, Amanda Szabo, Laura Chaddock, Jennifer S. Kim, Susie Heo, Heloisa Alves, Siobhan M. White, Thomas R. Wojcicki, Emily Mailey, Victoria J. Vieira, Stephen A. Martin, Brandt D. Pence, Jeffrey A. Woods, Edward McAuley, and Arthur F. Kramer
Reed, J. A., Einstein, G., Hahn, E., Hooker, S. P., Gross, V. P., & Kravitz, J. (2010). Examining the impact of integrating physical activity on fluid intelligence and academic performance in an elementary school setting: A preliminary investigation. Journal of Physical Activity & Health, 7(3), 343-351.
Shoval, E. (2011). Using mindful movement in cooperative learning while learning about angles. Instructional Science: An International Journal of the Learning Sciences, 39(4), 453-466
Vazou, S., Gavrilou, P., Mamalaki, E., Papanastasiou, A., & Sioumala, N. (2012). Does integrating physical activity in the elementary school classroom influence academic motivation? International Journal of Sport and Exercise Psychology, 10(4) 251-263.
Shippai no Shinrigaku (The Psychology of Error)” (Nihon Keizai Shinbunsha, 2004), Shigeru Haga, a professor at Rikkyo University in Tokyo.

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Författare: Otis Angus