In a very interesting study, Hannaford cites examples of the effects of exercise of body on stimulation of mind. The author maintains that exercising the body can enhance learning experience.
I loved the book because it was very refreshing and had some original food for thought. Though I was aware of the benefits of exercising the body, I needed to know how it could stimulate learning and brain activity. Now I realize why it is extremely important for children in school setting to be exposed to physical exercise and sports. Because it is healthy thing to do and it also makes exercise a learning experience.
The children must be involved in exercise and its benefits so they can discover them for themselves. It has been noted that children and teachers are both delighted by the manner in which exercise stimulates mind. I feel that in our schools we should make exercise mandatory for all students with the objective of making learning a better and more effective experience for them and for the teachers as well.
Hannaford makes it clear that senses and emotions play a key role in enhancing the learning process and thus recommends exercise both before and after learning. She starts from a very young age which helped me in understanding how exercise could affect learning. She says that basic early exercise like crawling have a great impact on a child's learning abilities. Crawling "activate[s] both hemispheres in a balanced way" (Hannaford, 92).the author also insists that real learning process "starts with movement in response to a stimulus, then creates a context or experience to understand the sensory input" (99).
What was really enlightening came in the form of findings on reading. I learned that children are not very receptive to silent reading till the age of seven. And thus this activity must be postponed till then. They should instead be taught in a way that would acknowledge their natural progression of skills and their bodies' natural development stage. I was happy to see that when applied in classroom, children actually responded very well to these new ways of learning.
All the noise they create while laughing, sharing, building and moving around and learning was a healthy indication of their high involvement. Hannaford advocates the use of pictures and painting to enhance learning: "Most people need to discuss, write, or draw a picture of new ideas in order anchor them in the body with movement for memory and clarity of thought" (101).
Hannaford also presents her findings on inhibitors that can affect learning. She identifies such factors as television, computers and video games as few inhibitors that may slow down the learning process. Children fully engrossed in sports are less likely to watch television or spend time on video consol. This is beneficial in terms of their health and also facilitates learning. Stress is shown as another major inhibition factor. In short, the book focuses on the finding that: "It is the full activation and balance of all parts of our body/mind system that allow us to become effective, productive thinkers" (106). And this I have found to be a finding worthy of affirming over and over again.