Are We Sitting Too Much?

“The person doing the most talking – or moving or writing – in a class or training is doing the most learning.” And,if you observe a traditional face-to-face class, it’s immediately obvious who is doing the most talking, moving, and writing: the instructor or trainer, of course!

Brain research now has the statistics to back up the quotation: When learners talk and move and write, they learn better and remember more. The more passive the learner is (just sitting and watching the instructor talk, move, and write), the less he/she remembers. The reasons for this are physiological, the most important being the lack of movement.

For an interesting “take” on the need for more movement in our lives (including those places like offices and classrooms, where a lot of sitting takes place), watch this short, cartoon “fast-draw” video:

So we teachers and trainers might not need more movement while we’re instructing others, but our learners definitely DO need to move – A LOT! How do we build in short, quick bursts of learner movement into our content-delivery, even when we have way too much material to cover in way too little time? Here are three quick “Body Breaks” that learners can do in two minutes or less, in between lecture segments:

1. Stand, Stretch, and Speak: Direct learners to stand and stretch (give them a few moments to do so). Then they tell the person nearest them a quick summary statement of what they’ve learned so far. They can also tell their neighbor three facts about the content just covered, a question they still have, or how they can use the new information. Once they’ve had this short, paired discussion, they sit down and you begin the next lecture segment.

2. Stretch, Breathe, and Write: Learners stretch in place while sitting, take a few slow, deep breaths, then write a sentence or two about the most important concepts just covered.

3. Wall Chart Summaries: Learners write summary statements on sticky notes, then walk to a wall chart where they post their notes (everyone gets up and walks to the chart so that everyone moves).

There are dozens more ideas in the articles on the Free Stuff: Sharon’s Articles page. Find an article that interests you, grab an idea or two about activities that allow learners to move while reviewing content, then use them in your next class or training and watch what happens!

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