5 reasons you should make your lessons more active

Anna Whiteley
Sep 11 · 3 min read

Gone are the days when a lesson meant sitting silently at a desk. Schools around the UK are beginning to see the benefits of active learning.

Active learning focuses on the way students learn, not just on what they learn. It can take a variety of forms, but always involves pupils’ engaging in the lesson beyond the traditional ‘sat at a desk’.

Gwladys Street Primary in Liverpool is one of many schools who recently began to explore the benefits of active learning. After seeing attainment in maths in the school was poor, they began looking at ways of using the power of PE to enthuse, excite and engage children in maths lessons. The staff attended an Active Maths training session before implementing active lesson plans into their timetable. After transforming their maths lessons, not only did physical activity levels throughout the school vastly improve, but the staff also saw a 21% increase on the children’s attainment and pupils’ attitude towards maths became much more positive.

“During the school day, it is lovely to observe active maths sessions. Pupils respond well to this lively and energetic approach and it is having a positive impact on pupil progress.”

- Miss Nicola Booth, Headteacher.

Active maths sessions are timetabled every week and were also mentioned in the schools latest Ofsted report. Find out more about Gwladys Street schools active learning journey here.

With this in mind, I took a look at the positive impact active learning can have upon students’ learning outcomes. Here are 5 reasons why you should make your lessons more active:

1. Promote responsibility — Active learning is student centred. It gives pupils’ greater involvement and control and encourages them to take responsibility in their own learning. Children are not simply a passive listener in the lesson, instead the teacher provides opportunities for them to build their knowledge and understanding upon.

2. Collaboration and social skills — Much like PE lessons, involvement in an active lesson means your class have the opportunity to work together on tasks and objectives. Team work and the development of social skills builds confidence and empowers them to believe in themselves.

3. Change attitudes — We’re all familiar with the groans and sighs when it comes to a maths or English lesson. Making these sessions fun is key to changing pupils’ attitudes. Every aspect of the curriculum can be adapted to make it more active and therefore more fun! An active session is much more focused and intellectually exciting. You’ll soon have a class that are engaged and enthusiastic about the activities and look forward to the lessons.

4. Raise attainment — Boredom from lack of engagement leads to poor attainment. When pupils enjoy something, they achieve more. Schools engaging in active maths and English lessons have seen a significant rise in attainment. Results across the school have been transformed and data shows children are now meeting and even exceeding end of year expectations. Want to know more? Read this.

5. Improve health — Getting more active in class not only raises attitudes and attainment but also creates healthier, happier and more confident children. Encouraging primary school children to stay active and increase levels of physical fitness is part of the government’s plan for action to significantly reduce childhood obesity too.

Interested in making your maths and English lessons more active?
Access free samples of Teach Active’s lesson plans and resources, all mapped to the Maths/English curriculum
here.

In partnership, The Youth Sport Trust and Teach Active, are delivering free and fully funded Active Learning workshops to multi-school groups, clusters, and MATs. The workshops, delivered all over the country, will upskill teachers, providing research and practical ideas to implement active learning across the curriculum. Find out more and book your place here.

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