Daily Archives: November 25, 2012

Juggling linked to improved academic skills

This isn’t surprising to many jugglers. While there isn’t strong scientific evidence to back this, many teachers believe teaching children to juggle also makes them better students – “Teachers Link Juggling to Improved Academic Skills”

“We started a juggling program in 1994-1995 to help prepare the kids for reading,” Jan Tipton, Alimacani’s physical education teacher tells Education World. Some teachers observed, moreover, that children who had trouble learning to juggle also had trouble learning to read. “We find that if we give kids extra practice juggling, their reading improves as well. It’s my way of helping in an academic area,” Tipton notes.

This looks promising. Even if it doesn’t boost academic ability, in the very least, juggling is a great way to exercise(it can burn 272 calories per hour, assuming the person is 150 lbs or 68 kg), and joggling an even better way. This may be a good example of “positive transfer”, in which skill in one area is transfered to learning a skill in another area. All the focus and discipline required to track balls while juggling, to throw them the right way is, in theory, transfered to improve focus in math and reading.

Learning to play an instrument and even chess are thought to provide similar benefits, but they are not exercises like juggling. And we all know that many children these days need a lot more exercise. At the risk of overstating the benefits of juggling, it would be terrific if more schools taught children to juggle during phys-ed class.