Integration of Movement Breaks into the Undergraduate Classroom: Keeping students and instructors active and engaged

Integration of Movement Breaks into the Undergraduate Classroom: Keeping students and instructors active and engaged

  • Ananya Banerjee, Dalla Lana School of Public Health
  • Jacqueline Bender, Dalla Lana School of Public Health

Abstract

Student engagement is considered a key strategy to transform and add value to the undergraduate classroom experience.
While many teaching practices are being evaluated for enhancing student engagement, little attention has been paid to the role of incorporating movement in the classroom. “Movement in learning” is a teaching practice based on the premise that humans learn better through movement. The goal of this sequential explanatory mixed-methods project is to examine the feasibility of integrating movement breaks in undergraduate classrooms at the University of Toronto to enhance student engagement.
The intervention will consist of two 3-minute instructor-led movement breaks integrated into each two- to three-hour lecture in five undergraduate courses across the three UofT campuses for an entire semester. The evaluation will consist of the following:

  • a post-test questionnaire administered to students to collect information about their socio-demographic characteristics, perceptions of intervention, as well as perceived impact;
  • structured instructor reflection forms administered at mid- and end-term to collect instructor perceptions about acceptability, implementation and sustainability of the intervention;
  • field notes collected by the RA using a structured form based on two observations per course; and
  • focus groups, one with instructors and administrators, and three with students (1 per campus) to explore the acceptability, impact and sustainability of the intervention.

We anticipate this tri-campus “movement in learning” initiative will show increased levels of interactivity with other
students and with the course instructor, positively influencing active collaborative learning and student engagement in undergraduate classrooms.