Physically Active Lessons in Secondary School: An Intervention Study

Claus Løgstrup Ottesen & Jesper von Seelen
University College South Denmark


Background: This article describes an intervention study examining the effect of physically active lessons on both educational outcomes and the teachers’ perspective on integrating PA into academic lessons in secondary school.  

Methods: A 12-week physically active lessons program using the MIT-approach, Movement Integrated into Teaching. The study outcome was 1) change in math and reading performance 2) the teachers motivation for implementing PA in academic lessons focusing on barriers and opportunities, collected through group interviews with teachers.

Results: The study showed no effect on reading and math scores. However, reading improvements in the intervention group was higher than in the control group, but due to differences in baseline scores, a linear regression showed a ceiling effect. The physically active lessons engage and motivate more students, and it increases the students’ on-task behavior. Integrating PA in the lessons is a challenge, because of the time pressure and strong curriculum demands in secondary school. The teachers see the MIT-approach as a more systematic way of using physically active lessons making the teaching more active and varied.

Discussion: The results of the study are expected to provide schools and policy-makers with new insights into the potential of physically active lessons in secondary school.

Download the full-text article here!

CLAUS LØGSTRUP OTTESEN has a Bachelor in Teaching and a Master in Learning Processes. He is a lecturer in Physical Education Teacher Education (PETE), and researcher in department of Applied Research and Development, University College South Denmark. He is developing education content and didactical PE-models for the Danish Ministry of Education, and manages various projects concerning health promotion, physical activity and playful, creative teaching practices in Danish Schools.

JESPER VON SEELEN, M.Sc, Ph.D. currently holds the position as Associate Professor and head of the research program Health Promotion and Learning at University College South Denmark. He is coordinating and supervising approximately 30 projects – among them five Ph.D.-projects – covering a wide range of themes all connected to the link between health promotion initiatives and learning. University College South Denmark holds the secretariat for Schools for Health in Europe Network Foundation, where von Seelen is in charge of research activities.


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