Officials say exercise enhances learning

By Linda Long: PNT correspondent

Jumping jacks met geography Monday.

Approximately 70 physical education teachers from around the state participated in a special exercise workshop hosted by Eastern New Mexico University Assistant Professor of Health and Physical Education Matthew Martin.

Martin wanted to demonstrate that exercise enhances learning in spelling, math, science, reading, and any other subject in school.

The workshop was held in Greyhound Arena. Portales teacher Lois Standefer helped Martin organize the event.

“We are getting total support from the teachers to get teachers to integrate movement in the learning process,” instructor Rike Kerstges said. “We want to bring this program out more — so they can join the organization.”

Kathy Lund teaches PE at Brown Early Childhood Center.

“I am impressed mostly with the opportunity to bring more academics in my PE setting,” said Lund. “I am in my second year to do this program and I’m hoping we do it a third year.”

Martin said the workshop introduced participation in one or two interdisciplinary areas to show how movement can reinforce academic subjects.

“The idea is discovering learning and addressing the needs of different learning styles, which enables the students to experience kinesthetic learning — which supplements what to do in the classroom,” he said.

Martin believes there are other reasons for incorporating this kind of learning.

“Students are often in class for long periods of time,” he said. “They get moving and concentrate. The ability to pay attention — moving every couple of hours — helps students to cover all content.”