When talking about strategies to maximise student’s learning potential, rest probably won’t be at the priority list of most teachers. With so many lessons to tackle and activities to finish, why rest? The truth, however, is brain breaks have a lot of benefits for your students and may be what your pupils need to perform better in class. Here are things you need to know about brain breaks:
They are really good for the brain
Brain breaks are not to be dismissed as a futile activity, because its benefits are science-backed. What happens is this, the new information students receive go through a region in the brain called amygdala before it reaches the prefrontal cortex, which processes the information and stores it. Now, the amygdala is responsible for managing emotions. When the students feel anxious or confused, the amygdala sort of goes into overdrive, thus reducing the chances of actually capturing relevant information. So, brain breaks are crucial to give amygdala a literal break and keep it in a good, working state.
They should re-energise students
Two M’s you should take into consideration when planning brain break activities: moods and motivation. Boost the spirits of your students by playing a song and singing along to it as a class. Or, you can create a corner in the classroom where students can do different sorts of relaxing activities, like lying around and stretching muscles or sketching and colouring. You only need high-quality educational furniture and art supplies for this space. On the other hand, to increase motivation, let the students form smaller groups and discuss how they find the lesson useful for them so far.
They should happen as needed
There’s no specific time to giving students a brain break. The important thing is, it should be done before exhaustion or inattentiveness happens. If you’re not used to children’s habits yet, observe them for a week or two, especially considering triggers for distractions. The duration of the brain break also differs from class to class. For instance, primary school students would need 3 – 5-minute breaks after 15 minutes of intense classroom discussion; for high school students, after 30 minutes or so.
Make brain breaks a priority in your class. It may just be the missing ingredient that could boost the learning potential of your students.