Group PE lessons have greatest impact on children’s attention in schools, new study finds
The type of activity primary school children do in PE lessons can affect how well they are able to focus afterwards, a new study has found.
Published in the British Journal of Education Psychology, the research found that physical activity performed as part of a group, rather than alone, had the greatest impact on children‘s attention scores.
Games-based activities also resulted in participants being better able to control their impulses.
Lead researcher of the Spanish study Dr Josune Rodriguez-Negro is a PhD researcher in the physical education and sport department of the University of the Basque Country
The study findings highlight not only that physical education in schools can improve children’s attention and impulse control, both of which are linked to academic success – but also that different types of content can produce different results.
Therefore it seems right to increase the amount of time children spend doing PE and for children to do PE first thing in the mornings to get the best results. Also, school leaders should select activity for lessons based on what they are looking to influence.
A total of 135 children aged between six and eight took part in the study in a Spanish state school. They were split into three groups and each group was assigned to one of three intervention programmes: a balance intervention programme (BIP), a games-based programme (GBP) and a drama learning programme (DLP). In the BIP intervention, children performed individual balance activities, like standing on one leg for a minute, whereas the other two interventions were group-based.
The study is believed to be the first to compare the effects of BIPs, GBPs and DLPs on children’s perception of the intensity of the intervention, how they felt and their cognitive functions.
The intervention programmes lasted eight weeks and were held during the school’s regular 90-minute weekly PE lesson, so there was no change to the structure of the school day.
Researchers found that after each intervention programme, children in the GBP and DLP groups ‘significantly’ improved their attention test scores.
Children in the GBP group also improved their impulse control scores.
However, children in the BIP group showed no improvement in either attention or impulse control scores. However, children in this group thought the activity they did was more intense than children in the other groups.
The type of activity children did had no bearing on how they felt during the intervention, they enjoyed it equally, whichever group they were in.
Added: Fri Jul 29 10:21 2022 (1 month ago)