Critical Examination of the Implementation of the Innovative Physically Active Teaching and Learning (PATL) Methodology in Hampshire and Isle of Wight (UK) Schools: 26th EASM Conference 2018

Oscar Mwaanga, Sam Moss

    Research output: Published contribution to conferenceAbstract


    Physically Active Teaching and Learning (PATL) is a novel teaching approach that introduces Physical Activity (PA) into the school curriculum and centralises PA as a modality to promote learning (Kibbe et al., 2011). Essentially, PATL aims to simultaneously improve health and well-being via increased PA and physical literacy (Tomporowski et al., 2011). Moreover, PATL is distinct from the common ‘brain breaks’ which facilitate bouts of classroom-based PA without clearly defined academic objectives. Within the current agenda of the international Sport for Development (SDP) field, PATL directly contributes to the sustainable development goals i.e. Good health and well-being (3), quality education (4), gender equality (5) and partnership for the goals (17).

    Within the UK context, PATL interventions are perceived as innovative, scalable and sustainable responses to a number of practices in school that have resulted in limited physical activity opportunities for children. For example, the obligatory 7–8 h per day are spent in seated lessons, greatly contributing to sedentarism in children (Castelli et al. 2015). Additionally, National frameworks to secure time for physical education and PA are absent and are only starting to get implemented in the UK. Furthermore, school sport enjoys extended Primary PE and Sport Premium funding from the recent sugar tax, although it’s capacity to which it is utilised is determined by school management.

    A wide range of PATL interventions are now being implemented in schools across the UK and worldwide. This paper starts to critically examine the development and implementation of one PATL innovative intervention in selected Hampshire and Isle of Wight schools (UK). In particular, the paper examines MoveClass, a whole class innovative and interactive application that integrates revision and physically active movement exercises within the classroom setting. The findings of the paper will be supported by one to one interviews with teachers and practitioners who are actively aware of the PATL methodology, to be conducted by the end of July. Thematic analysis will be used to capture key, in-depth views relating to the development and implementation of MoveClass. The study will bring to the fore some critical insights regarding the challenges relating to the development and implementation of disruptive innovations within the wider SDP context.

    Classroom activity breaks modestly but consistently increase students’ physical activity levels (Norris, 2015), on average, by 19 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity (MVPA) per school day. Students participating in classroom-based physical activities that incorporate academic concepts have significantly greater improvements in on-task behaviour than students in other classrooms. In some studies, students in physically active classrooms show greater improvements in their standardized test performance than their peers (Kibbe 2011). Additionally, Classroom-based physical activity interventions are also associated with improvements in cognitive skills and attitudes (e.g., attention, concentration, memory, or mood).

    Such findings supporting PATL align with several hypotheses, E.g. the executive function hypothesis which states that executive function tasks of goal-directed planning can be improved with PA (Tomporowski et al., 2011). The body’s release of endorphins is hypothesized to trigger a positive feeling or "euphoria" which may lead to a positive and energizing outlook to the learning experience (Hillman, Erickson and Kramer 2008). Arguably, PATL also follow the principals of experiential learning theories where learning is hypothesised to occur through action and reflection on that action (Kolb, 1984). Intervention studies have implemented physically active lessons into various school environments. However, more robust research and systematic review are needed to support the PATL methodology.

    In terms of scalability and sustainability, physically active classrooms are generally considered to be a low or no-cost approach to increasing students’ physical activity and a great contributor to the whole child agenda which aims at incorporating both educational and health outcomes for children. Additionally, school teachers can be trained to effectively lead physically active classrooms in a relatively short time.
    Original languageEnglish
    Publication statusPublished - 18 Apr 2018


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