University of Oulu

Sirpa Sneck, Heidi Syväoja, Sanna Järvelä & Tuija Tammelin (2022) More active lessons: teachers’ perceptions of student engagement during physically active maths lessons in Finland, Education Inquiry, DOI: 10.1080/20004508.2022.2058166

More active lessons : teachers’ perceptions of student engagement during physically active maths lessons in Finland

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Author: Sneck, Sirpa1,2; Syväoja, Heidi1; Järvelä, Sanna2;
Organizations: 1LIKES, School of Health and Social Studies, JAMK University of Applied Sciences, Jyväskylä, Finland
2Department of Educational Sciences and Teacher Education, University of Oulu, Oulu, Finland
Format: article
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 5.3 MB)
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Language: English
Published: Informa, 2022
Publish Date: 2022-09-22


The Moving Maths study was conducted to increase third grade pupils’ physical activity and support their learning in Finland. Altogether 397 children (mean age 9.3 years) and 22 teachers took part in an intervention with two types of physically active maths lessons for five months. One group carried out lessons in which PA was integrated into maths learning goals, while another group implemented PA as short breaks. A control group was also allocated. The aim of the current study was to qualitatively examine classroom teachers’ (n = 12) experiences and perceptions of student engagement during the intervention. The results indicated that pupils showed positive emotional and social engagement in both intervention groups. Positive cognitive engagement was indicated by concentration on seated work after the activities, but some teachers reported uncertainty about the learning results. It is concluded that in addition to reducing children’s harmful sedentary behaviour, physically active lessons can positively affect student engagement and may thus enhance learning.

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Series: Education inquiry
ISSN: 2000-4508
ISSN-E: 2000-4508
ISSN-L: 2000-4508
Issue: Online first
DOI: 10.1080/20004508.2022.2058166
Type of Publication: A1 Journal article – refereed
Field of Science: 516 Educational sciences
Funding: The study was supported by the Ministry of Education and Culture, Finland, under grants OKM/66/626/2016, OKM/66/626/2017, OKM/79/626/2018.
Copyright information: © 2022 The Author(s). Published by Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial License (, which permits unrestricted non-commercial use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.