PE Sport and Physical Activity in Scotland and beyond

Archive for the ‘Research’ Category

Sprint Your Way to a Better Volcabulary: Quick Learners!!

Posted by drilly on June 8, 2008

No this is not a CfE “rich task” but is an article about exercise and learning or more precisely exercise intensity and its effects on learning. Unlike the article I referred to in a previous post this one sites the research source, a definite improvement. The article suggests that research on college athletes indicates that after bursts of intense sprinting they were better able to learn and retain information both over the short and long term. The article finishes by stating

This paper illustrates how we could capitalize on some of that compensatory biology to do a little multitasking. Get some quick exercise in, and while you’re recovering teach yourself a new language. I’m not saying this approach will work for everyone, or for every type of learning, but the possibilities are there; and the combinations will be virtually endless.”

Certainly gives me a new understanding of the term “quick learner”. Maybe that’s where I have been going wrong trying to learn some French for my upcoming trip to Switzerland this summer.

Posted in Education, Learning, Physical Activity, Physical Education, Research | Leave a Comment »

Improves Brain Function: Just One of Many Claims We Hold Dear in PE

Posted by drilly on June 8, 2008

I recently read this article which suggests findings that most PE teachers have held true for decades. Exercise and fitness has much wider benefits than weight management and physical health. The article states:

“It turns out that physical activity actually turns on hormonal support systems in your brain. The activation of these systems strengthens brain circuits that you already have and helps you develop new ones.

Exercise causes a rise in several growth factors in the brain that are responsible for helping brain cells survive and divide into new brain cells, or neurons. Only a couple of brain regions can produce new neurons and exercise increases the amount and rate of neuron production in these regions.

The hippocampus plays a critical role in learning, memory and attention. Exercise induces new neuron growth in the hippocampus and improves performance on several types of cognitive tasks.

Folks that exercise regularly know that they are much more capable of handling stress throughout their day than they are when they don’t exercise. This is, in part, because exercise and stress have opposite effects on the hippocampus and exercise improves your ‘buffer’ to handle the stress.

Studies also show that in addition to exercise’s protective role, it is a valuable therapeutic tool for brain function. Fitness training improves cognitive functions relative to planning, scheduling, task coordination and attention. ”                                                               Originally uploaded by

I can relate to many of the ideas suggested in the article I know how great I feel after a doing some enjoyable physical activity and the release I get form a hard physical work out. I only wish the article sighted some of the research that it alludes to so I can confirm the veracity of the claims.

This also tends to be the problem with physical education we make a number of claims about the benefits of the subject  most of which are anecdotal and founded on our intuition, observation and belief that it is inherently good. However that is normally as far as it goes research is limited especially in Scotland. Some of us are impassioned about promoting our subject and feel we are having to fight to secure a significant proportion of time in schools curricula. However we have limited proof of the benefits other than the anecdotal. What we need is hard evidence to back up the claims we make about the benefits of PE.

A small minority of enlightened teachers have done or are starting to do some small scale research in their schools. Practitioner based research has the potential to be a powerful medium to inform our colleagues but would it have any standing with the Government or Local Authorities? I would be interested to hear from any colleagues who have or are undertaking any research relevant to PE in Scottish schools.



Posted in Education, fitness, Health, Physical Activity, Physical Education, Research, Scottish Government, Teaching | 1 Comment »

Non Competitive play leads to more Physical Activity but is it less enjoyable?

Posted by drilly on June 6, 2008

Here is an interesting article that raises questions about the organisation of PE and physical activity for children. The research shows that children who were involved in non competitive games were more active than children who were involved in competitive games. However as you dig deeper you discover that the competitive games were all elimination games e.g. when you lose, or are caught or make a mistake you are out of the game (ie not being active) as opposed to the non competitive games where there was no elimination. I wonder what the results would have shown if the competitive games had been non elimination games?

What was also interesting is that the children were surveyed for self-efficacy, enjoyment, and peer victimisation following both types of games. Results showed that enjoyment was higher following competitive games, although enjoyment scores were high in non-elimination games as well. There were no reports of peer victimisation in either set of games, but were significant increases in self-efficacy after both sets.

The key messages for me are that competition is important for enjoyment, if handled correctly, however we need to promote non elimination games to ensure the highest levels of activity as well. I have expressed my views on competition before in a previous post. The study also highlights the positive benefits from activity within the childrens affective domain and the positive benefits to mental health.

There is also a link within the article to another interesting article ACADEMIC ACHIEVEMENT HIGHER AMONG MOST ACTIVE KIDS Vigorous Physical Activity Linked to Better Grades The research shows that examination of activity and physical education (PE) compared to academic achievement shows the most active kids more often have better grades.

This begs the question if PE and physical activity (don’t get me started on the difference between them) can have such positive and wide ranging benefits and in light of our appalling obesity and health record in Scotland why are we still having to fight so hard to justify it having a significant time allocation in the curricula of many learning establishments!

Posted in fitness, Health, obesity, Physical Activity, Physical Education, Research | Leave a Comment »

Human Kinetics News letters

Posted by drilly on May 25, 2008

Human Kinetics UKPE April Newsletter contains some interesting articles and references to resources summary below

·  International Dance Day discount!

·  Help your pupils learn essential social skills through character-building activities

·  Achieve maximum fun and fitness in PE lessons with new physical education resource

·  Parents ‘too scared to let children play outside’

·  £5.5m plan to inspire new generation of Billy Elliots in schools

·  Obese children to die younger than parents

·  Labour’s 187 broken promises on playing field sales

·  Heart disease risk ‘increases for children who are inactive’

·  School-gate fast food ban urged

·  More children are watching junk-food adverts despite ban

There is also lots of lots of interesting reading and resources identified in the April FitNews the April Academic News the May FitNews and the May Academic News. Happy reading

Posted in Dance, Education, fitness, Health, obesity, Physical Activity, Physical Education, Research, Resources, Sport, Teaching | Leave a Comment »

PE, Physical Activity And Academic Achievement

Posted by drilly on October 22, 2007

An interesting article from America

Middle school students who perform more vigorous physical activity than their more sedentary counterparts tend to do better in school, according to a study published by researchers from Michigan State University and Grand Valley State University. It’s long been speculated that fitness and improved academic performance go hand in hand, said Dawn Podulka Coe, the study’s lead author.

Posted in Physical Activity, Physical Education, Research | Leave a Comment »