Effects of a Classroom-Based Program on Physical Activity and On-Task Behavior

Activity Promotion Laboratory, Department of Exercise and Sport Science, East Carolina University, Greenville, NC 27858, USA.
Medicine &amp Science in Sports &amp Exercise (Impact Factor: 3.98). 01/2007; 38(12):2086-94. DOI: 10.1249/01.mss.0000235359.16685.a3
Source: PubMed


This study evaluated the effects of a classroom-based physical activity program on children's in-school physical activity levels and on-task behavior during academic instruction.
Physical activity of 243 students was assessed during school hours. Intervention-group students (N = 135) received a classroom-based program (i.e., Energizers). The control group (N = 108) did not receive Energizers. On-task behavior during academic instruction time was observed for 62 third-grade (N = 37) and fourth-grade students (N = 25) before and after Energizers activities. An independent groups t-test compared in-school physical activity levels between intervention and control classes. A multiple-baseline across-classrooms design was used to evaluate the effectiveness of the Energizers on on-task behavior. Additionally, a two-way (time [pre- vs postobservation] x period [baseline vs intervention]) repeated-measures analysis of variance compared on-task behavior between observation periods. Magnitudes of mean differences were evaluated with Cohen's delta (ES).
Students in the intervention group took significantly (P < 0.05) more in-school steps (5587 +/- 1633) than control-group students (4805 +/- 1543), and the size of this difference was moderate (ES = 0.49). The intervention was effective in improving on-task behavior; after the Energizers were systematically implemented, on-task behavior systematically improved. The improvement in on-task behavior of 8% between the pre-Energizers and post-Energizers observations was statistically significant (P < 0.017), and the difference was moderate (ES = 0.60). Likewise, the least on-task students improved on-task behavior by 20% after Energizers activities. This improvement was statistically significant (P < 0.001) and meaningful (ES = 2.20).
A classroom-based physical activity program was effective for increasing daily in-school physical activity and improving on-task behavior during academic instruction.

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Available from: Matthew T Mahar, Oct 14, 2015
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    • "The researchers also found that incorporating movement in lessons can simultaneously contribute to children's academic performance (Erwin, Beighle, et al., 2011; Erwin, Abel, et al., 2011). In these previous studies the implementation of physically active academic lessons contributed to significant improvements in time students spent engaged in academic learning and in 'on-task' behaviours (Grieco, Jowers, & Bartholomew, 2009; Mahar et al., 2006; Riley, Lubans, Morgan, & Young, 2014). Despite this evidence, few teachers use physically active teaching methods (Morgan & Hansen, 2008). "
    Teaching and Teacher Education 11/2015; 52:113-127. DOI:10.1016/j.tate.2015.09.007 · 1.32 Impact Factor
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    • "Focusing on the synergistic effects of physical activity and academic performance (Lees and Hopkins 2013), physical activity programs incorporating short bouts of acute exercise could be effectively applied during daily school schedules to promote physical activity and enhance cognitive performance in children (Drollette et al. 2014). The role of school-based physical activity programs in increasing physical activity during the school day either through recess or breaks or by integrating physical activity with academic content has been investigated in several studies (Bartholomew and Jowers 2011; Castelli et al. 2011; Davis et al. 2011; Donnelly and Lambourne 2011; Hillman et al. 2009; Kibbe et al. 2011; Lambourne et al. 2013; Mahar et al. 2006; Telford et al. 2012; Vazou and Smiley-Oyen 2014). In general, these studies report positive associations between physical activity and learning outcomes in elementary and high school children (Erwin et al. 2012). "
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    ABSTRACT: Research suggests that integrating human movement into a cognitive learning task can be effective for learning due to its cognitive and physiological effects. In this study, the learning effects of enacting words through whole-body movements (i.e., physical exercise) and part-body movements (i.e., gestures) were investigated in a foreign language vocabulary task. Participants were 111 preschool children of 15 childcare centres, who were randomly assigned to one of four conditions. Participants had to learn 14 Italian words in a 4-week teaching program. They were tested on their memory for the words during, directly after, and 6 weeks after the program. In the integrated physical exercise condition, children enacted the actions indicated by the words to be learned in physical exercises. In the non-integrated physical exercise condition children performed physical exercises at the same intensity, but unrelated to the learning task. In the gesturing condition, children enacted the actions indicated by the words to be learned by gesturing while remaining seated. In the conventional condition, children verbally repeated the words while remaining seated. Results confirmed the main hypothesis, indicating that children in the integrated physical exercise condition achieved the highest learning outcomes. Implications of integrated physical exercise programs for preschool children’s cognition and health are discussed.
    Educational Psychology Review 08/2015; DOI:10.1007/s10648-015-9337-z · 2.40 Impact Factor
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    • "Whoever walks, jumps or moves in any other way, loses.^ The teaching process in this condition was based on the BIt's a Zoo in here^ activity of the Energizers classroom-based program (Mahar et al. 2006). The whole teaching procedure lasted 4 weeks in total. "
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    ABSTRACT: Research has demonstrated that physical activity involving gross motor activities can lead to better cognitive functioning and higher academic achievement scores. In addition, research within the theoretical framework of embodied cognition has shown that embodying knowledge through the use of more subtle motor activities, such as task-relevant gestures, has a positive effect on learning. In this study, we investigated whether combining both physical activities and gestures could improve learning even more in a 4-week intervention program on foreign language vocabulary learning in preschool children. The main hypothesis that learning by embodying words through task-relevant enactment gestures and physical activities would be perceived as the preferred teaching method and lead to higher learning outcomes than learning by embodying words through task-relevant enactment gestures only, and learning without physical activities or gestures was confirmed by the results. The results of this study hold great promise for instructional methods combining physical activities and gestures as enhancers of children’s learning.
    Educational Psychology Review 07/2015; · 2.40 Impact Factor
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