Body Awareness on the School Timetable

uk-flagIn Danish

Tanja Thinggaard Andersen & Malene Norup Stolpe
University College Copenhagen, UCC

Well-being is a concept that has come onto the agenda of the Danish municipal primary and lower secondary school. Up to now, there has been a research interest in investigating links between different categories of physical activity and well-being. In this project, we wish to take a slightly different starting point concerning well-being by investigating how psychomotor body awareness activities can help to strengthen children’s physical action competence in their school and everyday lives, in order to promote health and well-being in a life-long perspective. The psychomotor activities are characterised by spanning both movement-oriented and calm/resting activities, with focus on body relaxation techniques. For ten weeks, five seventh-grade classes attended a psychomotor course three times a week. Subsequently, through a qualitative focus group interview, it was investigated how the pupils experienced phenomena related to body awareness, on the basis of the teaching provided. The study shows that during the psychomotor course the pupils developed a burgeoning body awareness, expressed as conscious awareness of the inner physical sensory perception in the classroom. The study also shows that the burgeoning body awareness is transferable to actual everyday life as a form of physical action competence that enables pupils to have an inner investigation dialogue with their body during their everyday lives. In the light of the processes examined, with this study we wish to point to and discuss how competences related to the development of body awareness can help to support children’s well-being and general health in a school context.

In 2015, the “Psychomotor Education in Municipal Primary and Lower Secondary School” project was established. In this project, the authors cooperated closely on planning, conducting and evaluating the project, under the supervision of Dr. Steen Schytte Olsen, senior lecturer, the Relaxation and Psychomotor Therapy Programme, UCC. The project was supported by the “Health” UCC research programme. The authors received supervision from Dr. Stine Klein Degerbøl, lecturer, UCC.

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TANJA THINGGAARD ANDERSEN holds a Master’s degree in psychology, is a qualified psychomotor therapist, and has been employed by the Relaxation and Psychomotor Therapy Programme, University College Copenhagen, since 2013. Tanja is employed as a senior lecturer in the psychomotor movement subject under the Relaxation and Psychomotor Therapy Programme, and is also a knowledge worker under the “Health” UCC research programme. Tanja is particularly concerned with physical and sensory learning processes and the development of these in children and adolescents.

MALENE NORUP STOLPE holds a Master’s degree in human physiology from the University of Copenhagen and has been employed by the Relaxation and Psychomotor Therapy Programme, University College Copenhagen, since 2013. Malene is currently employed as a Ph.D. student and senior lecturer, under the Relaxation and Psychomotor Therapy Programme and at the research group Motor Performance and Health, Department of Nutrition, Exercise and Sports, University of Copenhagen. In recent years, Malene has had special focus on health promotion and on training bodily awareness in children and adolescents, and in particular the neurophysiological mechanisms associated therewith.

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