Better Movers and Thinkers (BMT) is an approach to learning and teaching in physical education designed to develop the ability of all children and young people to move and think in a more cohesive way with a specific focus on developing, enhancing and fostering Executive Function (EF) skills within the learning process. The BMT approach represents an evolution in physical education and incorporates pedagogical development and innovative content with current good practice.
How to use this resource
This resource has a number of supporting documents, including the professional learning paper: Assessing progress and achievement in Health and Wellbeing – Physical Education.
This resource provides guidance on using the BMT approach to enhance learning and teaching in physical education. It encourages practitioners to challenge their views on the content and pedagogy of physical education, and explore the links between movement and thinking, and academic achievement.
- In what ways could you introduce a BMT approach to your current practice?
- In what ways could you differentiate the material that is demonstrated, to meet the needs of your learners?
- In what ways might you develop your pedagogical approach in physical education to enhance the learner’s experience?
Explore this resource
What does it do?
The BMT approach focuses on learning, the process and the product.
- it helps to develop kinaesthetic awareness, which is essential when learning or developing physical skills, qualities and attributes
- it helps to engage the learners, and then sustain their engagement
- it supports learning by helping to develop thinking skills through movement
- it supports learning by helping to develop executive function skills
- it supports the development of movement through the use of scaffolding practices
- it enhances the development of performance through the practices of layering refinement and complexity
- it facilitates differentiation by focusing on the work of the individual
- it has the capacity to place physical education at the forefront of learning and teaching across the curriculum.
A key principle of the education process is that learning is the responsibility of the learner. The learner engages in the learning process by bringing a focus of attention and an ability to concentrate, to the situation and the tasks.
These attributes and skills are aligned with the Significant Aspects of Learning in Physical Education, and driven by Executive Functions (70 KB).
The pedagogy can be recognised in the construction of a positive learning environment which has several key elements:
- The learner feels safe – the learner is not frightened to experiment, to voice opinions, to fail, recover and try again
- the learner engages in the process of learning by bringing a focus of attention to the task - this is part of the process of developing Executive Function (EF) skills
- development of quality in both the learning and teaching processes
- activate learning tasks should be:
- appropriately paced and inclusive
- relevant to the learner’s needs
- challenging and progressive
- assessment is for Learning (AifL) strategies are applied to all aspects of the learner’s engagement, (physical, cognitive and personal) using observation and professional judgement
AifL strategies focus on the process being established by the learner as they develop performance (see glossary). Using the Significant Aspects of Learning (SALs) staff are able to identify the flaws in performance rather than the symptoms of flaws.
The BMT approach is unique in its identification and use of a series of 'scaffolding practices' that underpin the acquisition of the Significant Aspects of Learning that, in turn, support the development of discipline specific skills.
These scaffolding practices involve both physical and cognitive processes, and are important to all activities in physical education and lifestyle development. The Significant Aspects of Learning form a base that allows children and young people to successfully access activities throughout the school curriculum, and the world of sport.
The overview of the BMT session will be based on three main elements:
- moving and thinking while ensuring the activity level stays in the range from moderate to vigorous
- scaffolding practices that help develop the significant aspects of learning, and consistently increase the complexity of the cognitive tasks
- developing executive function skills
These are exemplars of how to use BMT methodology and scaffolding content to support the development of specific activities.
There are three sets of exemplars, featuring different activities that have been aligned with different stages of learning. Although the exemplars that are demonstrated here have been created with a specific context in mind the elements illustrated are fully transferable to a range of activities.
Early and First levels are represented by sessions in:
- kinaesthetic awareness
- developing coordination
- moving and thinking
- working with a partner
- developing rhythm
Second and Third levels are represented by sessions in:
Third and Fourth levels are represented by sessions in:
Career-Long Professional Learning
Explore these resources outlining suggested activities, with video links which exemplify what the learning should or could look like at Early, First and Second levels.
PDF file: Better Movers and Thinkers - The Role of Executive Functions (70 KB)
PDF file: Better Movers and Thinkers - Full resource (513 KB)
PDF file: Better Movers and Thinkers - Session exemplars (170 KB)
PDF file: Better Movers and Thinkers - Further thoughts on pedagogy (51 KB)
PDF file: Better Movers and Thinkers - The importance of physical integration (51 KB)
PDF file: Better Movers and Thinkers - Significant Aspects of Learning in Physical Education (214 KB)
PDF file: Better Movers and Thinkers - Planning Templates Exemplar (49 KB)
PDF file: Better Movers and Thinkers - Glossary of terms (178 KB)
PowerPoint presentation: Framework - Early level (1.6 MB)
PowerPoint presentation: Framework - First level (1.7 MB)