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Exercise: An Essential Tool in Classroom Management
posted by: Melissa | January 19, 2017, 01:53 PM   

When teachers speak of classroom management, they often focus on what happens inside the classroom, but a new study seems to suggest that the types of activities students participate in outside of the classroom can have just as much, if not more, effect on behavior.

The study, reported in HealthDay News, looked at the effect that exercise had on classroom behavior. It followed students with various behavioral conditions including ADHD on days when they did and did not exercise over a period of about seven weeks. The study found that on days when students exercised, they were 30% - 50% less likely to be removed from the classroom for discipline issues. Students who stay in the classroom are more likely to perform better in school and have better relationships with their teachers and fellow students.

Of key importance to this study is what is meant by exercise, especially since many activities that students do in physical education may not fall into the criteria used by the study. Many physical education classes focus on improving skills and don't have extended periods of aerobic exercise. This study had students use stationary bikes to raise their heartrates for 30-40 minutes at a time at least twice a week. This sustained and regular aerobic exercise had the greatest effect on the days when students exercised, but there were carry-over effects throughout the week.

The study has the largest implications for physical education teachers, who may want to make more of an effort to incorporate sustained aerobic exercise in their classes, as well as for school administrators who can use this study as further evidence confirming the importance of recess. However, the knowledge is also useful for specific interventions for students with behavioral issues, and classroom teachers may want to think about including more chances for physical exertion in their students' schedule, while parents of older students who have chronic behavior issues might consider getting them involved in a sport.

How do you include physical exercise in your school?

Share below!


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