I'd been frustrated for a while now in the planning and delivery of my French lessons. I had the knowledge and I knew what I needed to teach the children, however unfortunately I was drawing a blank when it came to thinking of creative ways I could deliver the content. The children seemed to be lacking in motivation and enthusiasm to learn a new language. Ultimately as a teacher, the buck stopped with me and I felt it was my fault.
In this particular lesson, I had just asked the children to practice their French numbers by saying them in turn to their partner. I noticed one child, who often behaved in this way in French, refusing to do this. He just stayed silent leaving his partner to count by himself.
I knew this child very well. I knew he was outgoing, energetic and full of personality but also struggled academically and would withdraw in class and become disengaged from learning. In the past, I may have dealt with this particular situation using the school behaviour system or tried to explain to him calmly but firmly that he needed to join in.
Instead of this (with very little thought) I told him to lie down on the floor and see if he could perform a "sit up" and count in French every time his chest touched his knees. The child tucked his chair in and lay down and began to do exactly this. No complaints. No dramas.
Two minutes later, the whole class were lying on their backs performing sit ups and counting in French. I looked around at their faces and the increase in focus, motivation, engagement and enjoyment was impossible to ignore.
From that day on my first thought when planning my French lessons was "How can I make this physical?" As a PE leader, the ideas began to flow quite naturally and all of a sudden the frustration I felt planning French in the past was replaced with passion and excitement. Excitement because I knew this would get the kids learning!
After telling the children that for the rest of the half term we were going to learn French in a physically active way, we passed a vote and suddenly French became "Fit French"! A few weeks later the children were designing their own physical activity to teach the rest of the class a French topic of their choice.
After witnessing a complete transformation of the teaching and learning in my French lessons, my only regret was that the "lightbulb moment" didn't come to me sooner.
I shared the impact of physically active learning on my class with the management team, who immediately shared my curiosity of whether this type of learning could have a positive impact on whole school improvement.
A couple of months later, I was delivering a full days inset training on physically active learning in the classroom under the name "Burn2Learn". The impact on the school in the weeks and months to come was huge:
Good news travels fast and with word soon spreading about Burn2Learn, I found myself in other local schools sharing its impact on teaching and learning.
My Burn2Learn journey had begun...
Lead Consultant, Burn2Learn
Burn2Learn teaching strategies and activities channel all that youthful energy into positive communication, motivational behaviours and respect for their peers.
Teachers regularly using Burn2Learn tasks have witnessed a transformation of children's social and emotional skills:
"The collaborative nature of the activities has boosted attainment and has really improved the self-esteem of some of the more “vulnerable” children”. Sarah, Clapgate Primary