The Move & Learn Approach to the New School Year

Bryn Llewellyn

According to a Key Stage 2 pupil at Oakdale Junior School in London, Bryn is ‘a genius’. However, his friends and family know the truth. Bryn worked in various UK schools for 25 years as a Teacher, Deputy Head and Acting Head. In 2012, he founded Tagtiv8 Ltd. His pioneering approach to Physically Active Learning (PAL) provides an enjoyable alternative to classroom based learning and also promotes physical activity – crucial when we all face the increasing problem of sedentary lifestyles. Bryn is co-director of Move & Learn UK - a CIC based in Yorkshire. He also advises on education content for the BBC and the Premier League.

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My friends in Scotland are already back at school, which can only mean one thing - it will soon be our turn in England.

Rather than simply climbing back on the hamster wheel, why not take an opportunity to reflect and consider better ways to move forward - especially in relation to promoting physical and emotional well-being? And what better way to do so than by considering ‘move & learn approaches’?


Give Yourself Time to Think

This time of the year is always a great time to revisit your core values. Ask yourselves:

  • What are they?
  • Why did you become a teacher?
  • Who are your role models?
  • How can you emulate these people and build upon their ideas?

Reflect. Schools are incredibly busy places, more so than ever before. It is all too easy to get bogged down in the nitty-gritty of the role. However, give yourself time to think and reflect. Celebrate your successes! Likewise, ask yourself what went well and why or indeed what could have been better. Consider different places and situations in which to reflect, whether they be on your own or with others. Personally speaking, my best ‘Think Times’ incorporate running, biking, and hot pod yoga.

Be resilient. There will always be challenges and you will need to look at ways to overcome barriers to learning. Surround yourself with good people - people within your own school setting and beyond who support and provoke in equal measures. Twitter is a great way to connect and share ideas with like-minded souls.

bryn 2

Be Playful

Try new things. Look at research and take time to see what’s out there - but remember, there’s no silver bullet. Many schools use the Daily Mile, but can you just run with it? Can you improve upon it and adapt it to the needs of our own learners? To find out more, click here.

Ask yourself, “Do we need to sit to learn?” Check out this TEDx Talk, ‘Physically Active Learning (PAL) - Improving Learning’.

On that note, why not try a Standing Desk for your PPA sessions? Or maybe take a walk with your colleagues to discuss new ideas, rather than sitting down all the time? Walking and talking often result in bonkers but wonderful ideas.


Get Your Learners to Move More

Taking the learning outside is a great way to engage and enthuse your children - not just for PE, but for other subjects too. By establishing ground rules and sharing your expectations, any potential behaviour issues are removed. Once outside, you will be saying, “I didn’t know he could do THAT! He’s never shown me that in a Maths lesson or written it in his Maths book.”

bryn 3

Consider ways to involve movement in and around the classroom. This can involve different levels of physical activity. Encourage your learners to simply stand up and move to another part of the classroom whenever they reach the end of a page or a chapter helps stretch the muscles and indeed the mind. At the other end of the scale, consider the Supermovers resources created by the BBC. In addition, check out the Disney & Star Wars resources created by the NHS and Change 4 Life for some Moderate to Vigorous Physical Activity (MVPA).

Be creative and look for opportunities to move and learn. Check out the hall timetable - is it used all the time? Are there gaps when it is not used in the morning? If so, get a timetable going and take your Mathematics and English into the hall on a regular basis. As Dr Andy Daly-Smith from Leeds Beckett University says, in this video, “To do literacy or numeracy in an active way, you remove barriers that some children face in a traditional classroom setting.”

If you would like to find out more about ‘moving & learning’, check out these 2 inspirational podcasts featuring pioneering school leaders:
https://peumbrella.com/living-breathing-a-pe-culture-with-headteacher-chris-willan/
https://peumbrella.com/putting-physical-activity-at-the-heart-of-school-life-with-headteacher-ian-holmes/

If you would like support with Physically Active Learning (PAL) in your school, contact the author of this article.

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