a student taking part in a challenge

Teaching memory through physical education

Trainee physical education teachers were shown different ways in which PE lessons can be a platform to develop important cognitive functioning skills such as memory.

Experiencing challenges such as throwing, catching, balancing, estimating, memorising and reacting were organised in a circuit of activities with the aim of enhancing memory as a transferable skill amongst pupils in schools. The challenges were based on the popular British Television problem-solving quiz and game show The Cube.

Each challenge requires accuracy and precision and can be set up as stations in a circuit in a sports hall or gymnasium where pupils work in groups as scorers, timers and performers. Three minutes are spent on each station with a one minute changeover. Pupils begin the challenges with 10 lives and if they fail a challenge they lose a life. Each successful attempt is worth 100 points. They can achieve a maximum of 1,000 points. Pupils may have several trial runs or practice attempts before they attempt the challenge for real.

PGCE and School Direct PE Route Leader, Dr Gary Stidder said: “Physical Education lessons can promote memory through physical activities that allow data or information to be encoded, stored, and retrieved when needed.

“It provides opportunities for the retention of information over time for the purpose of influencing future action and allows individuals to remember skills that learned, or retrieve information that is stored in the brain, or recall a moment that occurred in the past. There is often a misconception that physical education is just about physical outcomes rather than the development of important cognitive skills such as memory that can be transferred into other aspects of the school curriculum.”

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