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The Science Behind Brain Breaks in Education

In the fast-paced world of education, where every minute is precious, brain breaks are becoming essential for creating an optimal learning setting. As educators, understanding the significance of these mindful pauses can pave the way for enhanced student engagement, improved focus, and overall well-being within the classroom.

Incorporating regular brain breaks acknowledges and respects the natural rhythm of the brain, allowing students to recharge and maintain optimal cognitive functioning. These short intervals of rest not only prevent mental fatigue but also contribute to improved memory retention, creativity, and overall academic performance.

The human brain is not designed for prolonged periods of continuous focus. Our attention spans vary from person to person with concentration lasting somewhere between 7 to 52 minutes before needing to give our brain a break (Harvard Medical School, 2020).

While the optimal frequency of brain breaks may vary depending on factors such as age group and individual attention spans, a general guideline is to aim for a brief pause every 20-30 minutes. These moments serve as a reset button for students, allowing them to return to tasks with renewed energy and focus. Check out our ideas for incorporating brain breaks into the classroom.

Examples of Effective Brain Breaks

  • Stretching Exercises: A quick round of stretching not only promotes physical well-being but also helps to release tension and increase blood flow, revitalising both body and mind. Check out this YouTube video by Strong4Life Challenge team who demonstrate a simple 4-minute stretch routine.

  • Mindfulness Activities: Incorporate brief mindfulness exercises, such as deep breathing or guided meditation, to promote relaxation and enhance emotional regulation. Check out the videos seen on The Mindfulness Teacher, BrightenUp! Kids or Fablefy to learn more about integrating mindfulness into your classroom.

  • Energising Movement Breaks: Integrate short bursts of physical activity, like a dance break or a quick jog in place, to stimulate circulation and boost energy levels. Consider going for a walk around the oval or even just around the building to break up the lesson.

  • Quick Games: Infuse gamification and learning by jumping onto a platform such as Kahoot or Slides with Friends. Another option is to try guessing the daily puzzles hosted by the New York Times.

  • Pomodoro Technique: The Pomodoro Technique entails dividing work into 25-minute intervals, each followed by a 5-minute break, with a total of four rotations; after completing the four rotations, students are entitled to a more extended break, typically after two hours. Check out this Pomodoro timer on YouTube.

Interested in finding out more about our BOP School Incursions or Teacher Professional Developement offerings? Head to this link to find out more information!

About The Author:

Maddie Panther is a dynamic professional committed to empowering the next generation by guiding them to embrace opportunities and discover their authentic selves. Having worked with over 60,000 students across Australia, Maddie has extensive experience in helping young people navigate our ever-changing world and he pivotal role of technology in their digital lives.

Collaborating with leading Australian organisations, Maddie bridges the gap between industry and the next generation of young professionals, helping students develop global capabilities and essential skills to thrive in the evolving landscape of the future workforce. Her career portfolio showcases her involvement in facilitating large-scale hackathons, spearheading youth advisory boards, and coordinating national award programs. Through these endeavors, Maddie has honed her communication and leadership skills, establishing impactful initiatives that aim to inspire and empower the next generation of professionals.


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