7 ways to add movement in your next therapy session
Updated: Dec 20, 2021
Have you heard of someone who writes exaggerated notes to learn or someone who walks very fast while revising their notes? Why is it so? The answer to this is that we all have specific learning styles that work well for us.
One person can learn better while writing and rewriting what they want to learn, meanwhile another person can learn better by listening to podcasts and dribbling a basketball simultaneously. We all have our methods.
This blog goes deep into why kinesthetic learning and movement while learning is a good way to facilitate learning in classrooms, group settings and speech therapy.
There are various research-based reasons why incorporating movement is a good way to learn, they are:
a) Information presented in more than one mode or through an additional sense is often stored in long-term memory. This may include movement, visual or auditory learning.
b) Using gestures facilitates better learning than no use of gestures. Therefore, incorporating gestural actions to remember a specific word, sentence or syllable makes it easier for children to remember and understand.
c) Physical activity has numerous benefits including improved cognitive function, better academic performance. Therefore, any physical activity serves many additional benefits.
This is how we can incorporate movement in classes and therapy sessions:
1. Total Physical Response
This method has children act out words physically to represent vocabulary words. It was first developed to learn a second language effectively, in the 1960s. However, now, this method can be used for any kind of content with any student.
This is a great example of a teacher demonstrating TPR.
2. Snapshot Here, the students are encouraged to create a physical snapshot with their bodies. The idea is for a still picture to represent the idea of what you want the child to learn.
3. Simulations Have you ever been to a simulated ride? Or if you have ever seen a simulated volcano to learn more about what happens when a volcano erupts. This method works quite similar to that! A concept is demonstrated through motion and interactivity.
Simulated teachings can be a great way to teach, here is an example:
4. Songs with movements As a speech therapist, it is a given that you will start twinkling with your hands when you are about to recite “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star” or performing “Itsy Bitsy Spider’. Rhymes with associated gestures and actions is a great way to learn new things! Incorporating gestures and movements make it easier to remember.
Patty Shukla videos are so much fun for the kids! They are always a favourite and also extremely easy to incorporate in a session. You can find her videos on YouTube!
5. Virtual and Augmented Reality
I'm sure we all have heard about Virtual Reality. There are so many games these days that are dependent on virtual reality. Similarly, we can use the concept to encourage speech and language learning.
In VR, the child is immersed in a 360-degree environment of computer-generated simulation. It can be viewed through a VR set and allows the child to move and interact as if they are in that environment.
In AR, enhancement and animation are added to an object, which is in real life. Using a device with an AR software can bring up 3D elements to any object.
6. Brain breaks Brain breaks are physical activities incorporated in between a learning or therapy session. It is like giving your brain a break with an activity. Any kind of physical activity like stretching or even eye breaks can revive the students while providing academic excellence due to the inclusion of movements with education. These videos are very easy to use and can be found on YouTube, as well.
Using brain breaks in group sessions or classroom settings can be fun, as well as refreshing!
Here is an example of a fun activity with songs and movements for brain breaks.
7. Changing it up! During a therapy session or in between a class, it can be a good thing to change things up a bit. Perhaps, add a little activity in between lessons, tell the child to bring an item of a particular shape, colour, or size. Or it is even possible to incorporate a game of “Simon says”.
A game of “Hot Lava” or even a “Scavenger Hunt” will not even make learning interesting but also make learning fun for kids!
Movement breaks such as animal walks, shoulder shrugs, and some yoga poses are also a great way to add a fun little break in between therapy sessions or lessons.
Tips to get started
Adding movements is not mandatory. Yes, it is a good way to learn something, however, one must remember that not every word or component can have a movement attached to it. Too many movements will confuse the child. Therefore, it is important to note that one should only add movements when and where required.
You can also get some points from students to add movement and gestures that they think will be fun. Involving students in the process will make it easier for them to understand and remember the concept you are trying to teach.
Using movement as a form of retrieval strategy will make it easier for students to remember the concept and place it in their long-term memory. For example, short practice sessions in between lessons, will be a good way to remember the concept.
Meaningful gestures are more useful for younger children. The younger generation learns more from iconic gestures, which are gestures that have concepts attached to them. Therefore, with younger children, try to incorporate more meaningful gestures.
Parents can also be advised to add activities at home, for instance, involving children in household chores, in between their study sessions.