There are many things we take for granted, and many things we just assume. Many people assume, for example, that the best position from which to read a book is sitting. Or that someone studies better at a desk, alone on a chair. Our schools in particular base many of their activities around outdated and silly theories that completely ignore the importance of physical movement in helping to activate neural connections in our brains.
Granted, many talented teachers figure out ways to incorporate movement into every day classroom routines: kids get up to pick up handouts, a student walks up to the board to solve a problem, groups of kids move from table to table after each completed assignment. When I taught high school history, I sometimes had my students get up and turn around 4 times, supposedly a lucky number in Kwaikutl culture. I also just told them to get up and stretch, walk around if they needed to, get a drink, etc.. I didn’t know specifically how much movement was necessary to liven up those teenagers’ brains, or even specifically what type of movement was absolutely necessary – neither do cognitive scientists! Researchers have yet to determine just how much and specifically what type of movement is absolutely required for optimal brain performance. Ratey’s book Spark can fill you in more with the latest peer-reviewed updates in the mind-movement arena.
But No Movement?!? Whoever said we read better when we sit still? Ever tried reading standing up while reading…and continuing to stand up? It can be pretty cool. Too bad we often don’t let our kids do it. Or what about sitting on a ball-chair, the new craze in the ADHD Intervention world? I’m sitting on one right now. Someone somewhere finally said – enough with solid, stiff chairs! Let’s move, or at least subtly work our core muscles while bouncing in the blogosphere.