Do physically active lessons improve student engagement?
A study published in Health Education and Behavior looks at the effects of introducing physically active lessons into primary school classes. Emma Norris and colleagues used the Virtual Traveller (VT) intervention to evaluate whether physically active lessons had any effect on student engagement, physical activity, and on-task behavior.
Virtual Traveller is a program of pre-prepared physically active lesson sessions delivered using classroom interactive whiteboards during regular lessons. A total of 219 children aged 8- to 9-years-old from 10 schools in Greater London took part in the cluster-randomized controlled trial. Children in the intervention schools received 10-minute VT sessions three times a week, for six weeks, during math and English. To assess the effectiveness of VT, students' physical activity levels, on-task behavior, and student engagement were measured at baseline (T0), at weeks two (T1) and four (T2) of the six-week intervention, and at one week (T3) and three months (T4) post-intervention.
Students in the intervention group showed more on-task behavior than those in the control at T1 and T2, but this was not maintained post-intervention. No difference in student engagement between the control and intervention groups was observed at any time point. VT was found to increase physical activity, but only during lesson time.
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