Screens should only be used for teaching if they are the best tool.

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Jean-Benoit Legault, Canadian Press

MONTREAL — Screens should only be used in education when they are the best tool for teaching the subject, according to the lead author of the first international report on tackling the sedentary lifestyle of children and youth in school.

Their use should be justified and serve a pedagogical purpose by enhancing learning compared to other methods and should encourage mental or physical activity rather than their use for educational purposes, passive learning.

“We already know that students who spend less time engaging in sedentary behavior and therefore better overall physical and mental health do better in school than students who consistently engage in sedentary behavior, particularly students who spend a lot of time in front of screens,” Prince Edward Island University said. from Professor Travis Saunders.

The report, “International School-Related Sedentary Recommendations for Children and Teens,” warns that the already alarming sedentary behavior of young people is exacerbated by health restrictions depriving them of physical activity during the COVID-19 pandemic. and sports activities.

On the other hand, sedentary activities, that is, the waking time devoted to activities in a sitting or lying position and therefore consuming very little energy, began to take up more and more space.

If countries like the World Health Organization and Canada had already developed guidelines to reduce the negative health effects of physical inactivity, this report would be the first to offer specific evidence-based recommendations for physical inactivity in the school setting (in the classroom and during homework). ).

Acknowledging that screens can sometimes be good tools for teaching, Professor Saunders points out that two-thirds of the time spent in school is “sedentary” time and can be useful when working in teams, but “These advice will help (teachers) use these tools in ways that benefit their students and Minimize damage.”

Very concretely, the document suggests prioritizing face-to-face interactions over screen use and avoiding making screens the “default” way content is presented to young people or by which class.

“If there is a screen in the classroom, it should be used because it is the best tool not only for entertaining students but for teaching students as well,” Saunders said. We know the screens will be in the classroom, but we also know that Canadian students are already spending a lot, a lot of time in front of screens. Therefore, if we are using a screen at school, it should be for learning, not just for fun.

The report recommends limiting the use of devices, especially for students aged 5 to 11 years. Media multitasking is also not recommended in the classroom and while doing homework. It is also recommended that you avoid screen assignments within an hour of bedtime.

It is also suggested that periods of free or directed physical activity are interspersed with periods of inactivity at school. The authors of the report recommend a period of physical activity at least every 30 minutes for children aged 5-11 and at least every hour for children aged 12-18.

limit homework

The report contains information and advice for students, teachers and school management; politicians; parents, guardians; nursing staff; and to promote the health and well-being of doctors and other students working in the health system,

In terms of homework, the researchers recommend ten minutes of homework per evening per school year (ten minutes in the first year, sixty minutes in the sixth year) to free up the time that young people can devote to physical activity.

And while it’s probably utopian to think that teens will spend all that free time playing sports, M Saunders said, “if they have a lot of homework, they’re not even likely to do anything else.”

The report was published by the Sedentary Behavior Research Network in conjunction with the University of Prince Edward Island and Children’s Hospital of the Eastern Ontario Research Institute.

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On the Internet:

Sedentary Behavior Recommendations Related to International School