What Happens When I Introduce Mind Breaks in the Classroom After Lunch in Order to Improve Focus and Motivation?
A number of theorists in education have recognized the need for teachers to incorporate movement and breaks so that optimal learning is achievable by students (Christian & Weslake, 2015). Teaching Expertise (2004) suggest that enhanced learning through movement increases the oxygen in the bloodstream and leads to improved concentration, which enhances children’s readiness to learn. According to McLean (2003) teachers should know and accept that all children have some form of motivation and the challenge is to try to ‘tune in’ to what motivates students. Engagement is one of the five key drivers for raising attainment as part of The Scottish Attainment Challenge (Scottish Government, 2010). I sought to discover the best way to engage and motivate my students throughout the school day to ensure they build on their skills and knowledge allowing them to uncap their potential and be successful learners throughout their education. Furrer & Skinner (2003) found that “student engagement is generally understood to be the primary mechanism that enables motivational processes to contribute to learning and development”. McLean (2003) also states that children are active, curious and playful from birth therefore they have a natural incline towards activity, learning and exploration. From this I wondered what would happen if I introduced active mind breaks such as brain gym activities within the classroom and if I would notice a change in the learners’ motivation and engagement.
The aim of this practitioner enquiry is to investigate what happens when mind breaks are introduced in to my classroom. The enquiry is aimed at discovering if the engagement and motivation of pupils improved after being given the opportunity to take part in an active brain gym activity which requires concentration. By implementing these active mind breaks throughout the day, particularly after lunchtime when pupils need to refocus their energy, I wish to establish if they then return to their classwork engaged, motivated and ready to learn.