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Academic Psychology Resources
Eric J. Specht March 17, 2013
Physical movement has many beneficial properties, such as strengthening muscles, raising endurance, improving motor skills, promoting healthy organs, fighting obesity, and many others, but equally or perhaps more importantly, physical movement increases learning acquisitions. However, nationwide, American schools are removing physical education and recess, the only means of physical movement during school hours, from the curricula in order to conform to school budgets and comply with state academic standards. I believe the action is a huge mistake because according to science and research, physical movement is an essential component of education. However, whether schools maintain or remove physical education and/or recess from the curricula, the purpose of my research is to inform teachers and prospective educators nationwide that it is essential to implement classroom lesson activities that include movement simply because of the many beneficial learning impacts it bestows.
The purpose of my research is to explain how physical movement facilitates new knowledge and skill attainments and as a result, proves to be an important aspect of educational psychology. In the first five sections, I will provide annotated bibliographies, which aid locating the creditable websites and summarizes the information I utilized in my research. The annotated bibliography will also include an assessment that regards my thoughts about the structure of the article; the research included, and if the article promotes new ideas and research that may contribute to psychology of teaching. Following each annotated bibliography, I will explain how the information in the article contributes to my knowledge and understanding that physical movement is important to implement in classrooms. Following the bibliographic citations, I will summarize my overall findings, describe how physical movement is relevant to my academic, personal, and current role, and then conclude my overall thoughts.
Article 1: Understanding Brain Developments
BSCS. (2005, n/a n/a). "Information about the Brain". Retrieved March 15, 2013, from Teachers Guide: http://science.education.nih.gov/supplements/nih4/self/guide/info-brain.htm.
The Teachers Guide article, Information about the Brain written by the National Institute of Health provides important information about how the human brain works. The article maintains a professional view, because it is easy to read, understand, well organized, and includes extensive scientific knowledge relevant to learning developments. One important finding the article mentions is brain plasticity or the brain’s ability to adapt to continue learning growths, which can be located under the section titled, 7 Plasticity and Learning. From this article, teachers can better develop an understanding of the brain’s fundamental structure and functions and as a result, develop lesson activities that strengthen student’s prior learning synapse as well as encourage new neuron developments.
From my understanding, sensory memory, short-term memory, and long-term memory are three components of memory that processes and stores information; however, memory can be difficult to achieve if not fostered. The section titled, 7 Plasticity and Learning, supports the psychological view that physical movement can be an essential benefactor in the classroom. The section states that physical stimulation is a positive regulator for neural growth or in other words, physical movement broadens or creates new learning synapses that aid making the learning experience more meaningful and memorable. For example, math concepts can be confusing, so it may be difficult for fourth grade math students to remember how to find the perimeter of an object from lectures and repetitive work sheets alone. However, if the teacher asks a student to participate by physically walking around the desk and count the total steps it takes to go around the object once, they are stimulating new learning pathways or synapses to better understand and remember the perimeter concept.
Article 2: Multiple Intelligences
Smith, M. K. (2008, n/a n/a). howard gardner, multiple intelligences and education. Retrieved March 13, 2013, from Infed: http://www.infed.org/thinkers/gardner.htm.
This Article, written by Author Mark K. Smith, briefly explains Howard Gardner’s theory of Multiple Intelligences. Howard Gardner, a renowned cognitive theorist, claims that people have seven distinct intelligences that vary in strengths and weaknesses, which include linguistic intelligence, logical-mathematical intelligence, musical intelligence, bodily-kinesthetic intelligence, spatial intelligence, interpersonal intelligence, and intrapersonal intelligence. The information provided by the author is well written and valuable because he takes an objective view by including refuting views, issues, and problems about the theory. However, despite the lack of empirical evidence, Gardner’s theory curbs the national mindset of classroom teachings to include instructional strategies that focus on most or all of the intelligences.
One of the intelligences described by Howard Gardner is bodily-kinesthetic intelligence, which consists of the talent to use one’s body. For example, learners with high bodily-kinesthetic ability prefer to learn through hands on activities rather than through reading, listening, writing, and other traditional one size fits all teaching techniques. The information from the article increases my knowledge and understanding that learner preferences and needs differentiate and as a result, physical movement can aid learners with bodily-kinesthetic learning needs as well as aid students that are less tolerant to sitting for the majority of the school day. For example, instead of uneventfully sitting at a desk reading or listening to the History teacher talk about Civil War, the students can reenact strategies, battles, political debates, and other historical events.
Article 3: Body-Mind
Schine, J. (n/a, n/a n/a). MOVEMENT, MEMORY & THE SENSES IN SOUNDSCAPE STUDIES. Retrieved from SENSORY STUDIES: http://www.sensorystudies.org/sensorial-investigations/movement-memory-the-senses-in-soundscape-studies/.
Jennifer Shine, the author of Movement, Memory & The senses In Soundscape Studies, reveals knowledgeable information about the relationships between memory, senses, and movement. Although her paper is not dated, the paper appears current because the most recent dated source in her reference list is 2009. The format of Jennifer Shine’s paper is well structured, appears creditable, because she utilizes health research studies, mentions scientific theories that are current with today’s ideas, supports the psychological view that the mind and body are not separate entities, and aligns her studies with educational philosophies. The information from the paper discovers that there is strong evidence for an exercise-memory link theory, which suggests that movement benefits cognitive function and perhaps, reduces or reverses the effects of memory due to aging.
From Jennifer Shrine’s paper, I understand that physical movement contributes to recalling prior knowledge and experiences that aid learning developments. Often, if knowledge and skills are not regularly in practice they can easily be suppressed and as a result, difficult to retrieve from memory. However, physical movement may contribute to renewing knowledge by retrieving suppressed information and experiences lodged in the musculature. For example, the majority of ninth grade students may have forgotten Issac Newton’s third law of motion that he/she learned in fifth grade science class and as a result, need a review. To help jog students memory, the teacher may asks students to perform a task such as pair with another student, stand toe-to-toe, place hands shoulder high and against your opposing partner’s hands, and push on my command. After the students perform the physical activity, they may remember that Issac Newton’s third law of motion states that for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction.
Article 4: Brain-Based Learning
Yoder, G. (2009, May 4). Brain Based Learning. Retrieved from Christian Learning Center Network: http://www.clcnetwork.org/announcements/brain-based-learning.
In this article, Author Greg Yoder briefly explains brain-based learning. Although the author takes a subjective approach about the specific principles of brain-based learning, the mentioned principles promote a valuable mindset for teaching. The article is easy to read, understand, and includes additional reading materials recommended for further brain-based learning elaboration. Greg Yoder claims that exercise improves brain functioning by releasing neurotransmitters that promote eustress and reduce stress. The article emphasizes the importance of implementing teaching strategies that align with brain-based principles.
The article on brain-based learning reminds me how important general information about physical movement can be essential with facilitating students with learning acquisitions. Exercise enhances blood circulation and blood circulation provides the brain with oxygen rich blood, which raises awareness and motivation. Exercise also releases neurotransmitters or chemicals such as dopamine and serotonin, which reduces stress and promotes positive and healthy eustress. Stress can come from any aspect of life and greatly affect the learning mindset of students. Although academic pressure can cause stress, its purpose is to challenge the students; however, physical movement can help reduce the anxiety and eliminate stressful influences that derive from outside the academic realm. Therefore, the principles of brain-based learning encourage physical movement practices in school classrooms.
Article 5: Hands-On
Rillero, D. L. (1995, June 30). Perspectives of Hands-On. Retrieved from North Central Regional Educational Laboratory: http://www.ncrel.org/sdrs/areas/issues/content/cntareas/science/eric/eric-1.htm.
Authors David L. Haury and Peter Rillero communicate what hands-on learning means. The article is well structured, makes good use of different views, research, and science regarding what constitutes hands-on learning, which in conclusion is defined as a learning experience that actively involves students manipulating objects to gain knowledge or understanding. The hands-on learning approach aligns with a constructivist educational approach, which supports students constructing their own understanding and knowledge. In addition, the constructivist approach supports student-centered learning by emphasizing the importance of students actively participating in class as opposed to being passive listeners. Although the article involves a philosophical approach that has been around for years, it inspires new learning and teaching theories.
The emphasis on student-centered learning, hands-on learning, and the constructivist approach invites new concept theories that support physical movement in classrooms. Hands-on learning requires students to learn by actively participating, therefore, modern theories are encouraging philosophies to consider. Hands-on learning, such as manipulating shapes in math class, reenacting stories in English class, creating historical replicas, going to science museums, and many other movement strategies aid student’s individually. Individually, physical movement or hands-on learning helps students with concept comprehension, creating memorable references, establishing meaningful experiences, and retaining knowledge applicable to their real life perceptions.
Summarizing the Articles
All five articles contribute to understanding the importance of implementing physical movement into the classroom. Article one contributes by providing information about how physical movement encourages brain plasticity or how movement can create new learning pathways by stimulating new communication synapses. Articles two, three, four, and five introduce different learning perspectives, but they agree that physical movement plays an important role with learning attainments. Howard Gardner claims that some learners are bodily-kinesthetic learners; Author Jennifer Shrine believes that there are essential relationships between movement and memory, the brain-based learning theory emphasizes that movement increases awareness, motivation, and releases important eustress chemicals, and the hands-on learning theory supports active rather than passive learning. The information in the articles appears to be scientifically sound and sends a clear message that pertains to the significant role physical movement may contribute towards student’s knowledge and skill acquisitions.
Applying New Knowledge and Understanding
As a student and a prospective educator, I value the knowledge and understandings I have obtained from my research and will apply this knowledge to aid my academic and personal journey. Currently I am a college student, so I will be sure to take breaks from my studies to bend, stretch, walk, and perform other movements to enhance attentiveness and motivation. I will also do push-ups, hit the punching bag, or go for a jog when I am frustrated, so I can release stress and concentrate on my academics better. As a parent, I can offer the same strategies, but I can also help my children by converting school reading material into hands-on activities. Additionally, I can help my children remember lesson concepts by creating memory references through movement, such as creating a silly dance in relation to the topic to help them develop a meaningful and memorable learning experience. Although it is also important, as a teacher, to keep in mind all the benefits physical movement contributes towards aiding students, restrictions may interfere. Therefore, implementing lesson activities that include movement appears quintessential to bestowing the benefits.
On completion of this research paper, I have learned to analyze different aspects and views of educational psychology because it contributes to an overall view of psychology for teaching. Physical education and recess ordinarily appear nonacademic and as a result, schools remove them from the curriculum to allow for additional focus on core subjects. However, the movement appears to be more detrimental than helpful if compensation is not considered. Modern theories and scientific research proves that physical movement has many benefits that aid students with attaining knowledge and skills and perhaps more importantly, students may unanimously approve the mindset.