It’s always wonderful to see Bradford leading the way with pioneering research, especially when TICB (The Innovation Centre Bradford) can help support the process. We were delighted to supply Leeds Beckett University with banks of iPads as part of their research into the active learning approaches devised by Bryn Llewellyn.
Bryn has worked in various Bradford schools for 25 years as a Teacher, Deputy Head and Acting Head. Over time, he became increasingly frustrated that outside agencies were putting undue pressure on teachers and learners. Many primary schools were focussing only on English, Phonics, Guided Reading and Mathematics, with certain subjects put to one side. Subjects were being taught in boxes and experience shows this is not how we learn best. Bryn therefore decided to create educational resources that develop confidence in key areas of the curriculum through physical activity and founded Tagtiv8 Active Learning Games in 2012.
It’s all well and good having stories and anecdotes. However, people want facts and data. Real research is needed – not just a case study.
“I didn’t know he could do that. He’s never done that in a maths lesson…he’s never shown that in his maths book.”
The words of a teacher from Durham, with whom Tagtiv8 were co-delivering their prototype active learning programme. Teachers in schools around the UK have subsequently echoed similar phrases during Tagtiv8 Active Learning Days.
“We know that something magical happens when teachers take their children outdoors to play with numbers – when their Moderate to Vigorous Physical Activity (MVPA) kicks in. The extra blood flow, oxygen and glucose to the brain improves learning abilities.”
Bryn Llewellyn, Director Tagtiv8
With this in mind, Tagtiv8 approached Andy Daly-Smith and fellow researchers at Leeds Beckett University to test out the active learning approach. They wanted to assess whether the anecdotal evidence was true. The aim was to evaluate the impact of Tagtiv8 maths lessons on both physical activity and maths performance.
Initial discussions with Andy Daly-Smith reiterated the international research:
“Lesson times are the most inactive times in a child’s life.”
Children in KS1 and KS2 from a primary school in Leeds were baseline tested before being randomly allocated to groups; taking part in either a seated classroom lesson or a Tagitv8 active learning lesson.
Commenting on the results of the tests, Andy Daly-Smith said: “The results showed that pupils who took part in the Tagtiv8 lesson achieved over nine minutes more MVPA compared to the traditional classroom lesson. They spent 15 minutes less in sedentary time.”
“When it came to assessing whether active learning led to better academic outcomes we saw promising results. Overall, there were small improvements for pupils who learnt in an active way. Further, those pupils who were most active in the Tagtiv8 lessons seemed to have the greatest benefits. This suggests activity may play a key role in enhancing learning. Additionally, lower ability children, who took part in the Tagtiv8 lesson maintained their academic performance whereas pupils in the traditional classroom lesson decreased.”
The challenge now is to get the active learning message and evidence out there – to the decision-makers and practitioners in both education and health. Schools are incredibly busy places with time and money in short supply. Like the Head Teacher in the video, once school leaders see the games in-situ with their learners, ‘they get it’. They realise that core subjects do not need to be taught or learned while sitting down. This will help the Chief Medical Officer for England realise her aim of getting all children and young people sitting less and moving more – by engaging in MVPA for at least 60 minutes every day.
As regards further research, Andy Daly-Smith commented: “We would now like to seek funding to assess the impact of the Tagtiv8 active learning programme over a school year. It would be great to see if small improvements accumulated over time could lead to substantial improvements in the longer term, especially for those who are most in need.”
If you would like to find out more, please contact Bryn and Team Tagtiv8…
Office: 020 3370 4272
Mobile: 07506 523354