University of Oulu

Middle school teachers’ perceptions on the use of physically active learning during lessons

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Author: Wuollet, Maria1
Organizations: 1University of Oulu, Faculty of Education, Educational Sciences
Format: ebook
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 1.4 MB)
Pages: 74
Persistent link:
Language: English
Published: Oulu : M. Wuollet, 2019
Publish Date: 2019-11-18
Thesis type: Master's thesis
Tutor: Jokikokko, Katri
Reviewer: Jokikokko, Katri
Takalo, Susanna
Rahikkala, Ari


Children’s physical activity under ten years of age is usually spontaneous and non-organized. A significant decline in activeness occurs during the second decade of a child’s life which can be avoided with more organized activity. In middle school or secondary school, the time during a school day spent doing sedentary activities increases. Studies show that an increase in physical activity benefit students’ physical, social and emotional wellbeing. Use of physically active learning during lessons, especially cognitively engaging activities, has been shown to benefit students learning and health.

This master’s thesis focuses on the qualitatively differing aspects in middle school teachers’ perceptions on the use of physically active learning during lessons and methods of its implementation. The objectives of this study were to provide reflections on the phenomenon and practical methods for individual teachers, teacher education programs and the wider public. This thesis is a qualitative study using a phenomenography approach to systematically analyze the data. The research data collection included 6 middle school teacher participants from Finland, Lithuania and Denmark, who took part in focus group discussions.

The research results conveyed that teachers perceived the use of physically active learning during lessons to be beneficial for students as well as challenging to implement. The benefits for students perceived included improvement in memory, motivation, concentration and wellbeing during lessons. The challenges perceived with implementation included struggling with set school structure and culture, taxing nature on teachers, and the concern of student’s adaptability. The participants conceptualized three different ways of implementing physically active learning during lessons including: non-cognitively engaging physically active breaks, physically active breaks reviewing curriculum learning goals and the integration of physical activity into a lesson. Participants did not address social and emotional benefits and cognitively engaging activities that introduced new content. This research brings new insights from teachers for further research and developing physically active learning methods.

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Copyright information: © Maria Wuollet, 2019. This publication is copyrighted. You may download, display and print it for your own personal use. Commercial use is prohibited.