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Exercise link to higher test scores

October 10, 2011

Not the first study and likely not the last speaking of the plausibility pertaining to the relationship between quality physical and health education and academic performance (http://www.theage.com.au/national/education/exercise-link-to-higher-test-scores-20111007-1ldh0.html).

Some primary schools are fortunate enough to get 150 minutes of physical and health education time in a week; however, physical and health education time allotted does not always equal to physical and health education time delivered.  Here are some points in the story that really stood out for me:

  1. Another study shows children who are taught physical education by a specialist PE teacher have much higher NAPLAN test results in numeracy and writing than students whose PE lessons are taught by generalist classroom teachers in primary schools.  The specialist-taught group also had lower increases in body fat growth over two years, according to the second Telford study, published last month in the American Journal of Public Health.
  2. The use of brain imaging has found that exercise, especially fitness activities that involve hand-eye co-ordination, can improve brain function.  “We’re now realising that there’s a mutual development process between the brain and other tissues like muscles,” Professor Telford says.  “This mutual process seems even more evident in children. So if children are not exercising they may not have the optimum environment for growth of the body and brain.”
  3. A Bluearth survey of 3000 teachers in 500 schools involved in the program found 91 per cent of teachers reported the physical activity sessions had improved their students’ behaviour and social skills. Ninety-eight per cent noticed a positive impact in classroom work, with students more willing to listen and co-operate in teams. Eighty-nine per cent of teachers reported improvements in student self-confidence.
Evidently, one must always take this kind of information with a grain of salt; however, this article is only one of many describing the important of quality physical and health education as well as elaborating on the fact that not just anyone can teach it.
If you’ve read my introductory post on my blog, you’ve heard slam poet/teacher Taylor Mali mention the infamous quote “Those who can, do.  Those who can’t, teach”.  For one reason or another, there has been a further modification to this quote that further puts down physical and health education educators.  “Those who can, teach.  Those who can’t, teach ‘gym’ “.
Let us put that stereotype to rest.
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