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Durham e-Theses
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Can Motor Skills Training Improve Academic Performance?
A Structured Motor Skills Intervention for Young Children.

KATSIPATAKI, MARIA (2013) Can Motor Skills Training Improve Academic Performance?
A Structured Motor Skills Intervention for Young Children.
Doctoral thesis, Durham University.

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The thesis explores the relationship between motor and academic skills. According to previous research, motor skills difficulties can affect academic outcomes. Furthermore, there is growing evidence supporting the relationship between the motor and academic areas. As part of this investigation a motor skills intervention was developed that aimed to make improvements in the performance of the reading, maths and motor skills of young children in mainstream education. The “Motor Skills Intervention for the Early Years” that was subsequently developed represented a new approach to intervention combining direct and indirect motor tasks resulting in a pragmatic, hybrid intervention.
The research involved 56 typically developing children (TDC) attending two English primary schools with a mean age of 58 months randomly assigned to either the experimental or control group. Children were assessed in their motor and academic skills both before and after the intervention. The intervention was delivered for a period of 11 weeks with two weekly sessions for each school.
Preliminary findings appear to be promising, showing a large effect size for motor skills, and medium to smaller effects for reading and maths. The motor skills of manual dexterity and ball skills were significantly improved in children within the experimental group. Improving motor skills in TDC is important in its own right, due to its strong preventative role. Based on these findings, it is concluded that a hybrid approach to motor skills intervention can improve specific motor skills and yield small effects to academic skills within TDC. Future research from this study might include follow-up assessments to identify possible benefits on the academic areas of reading and maths in the long term. In addition, these findings can be used to inform future research and, if replicated with a larger sample, to inform educational policies for school-based interventions.

Item Type:Thesis (Doctoral)
Award:Doctor of Philosophy
Faculty and Department:Faculty of Social Sciences and Health > Education, School of
Thesis Date:2013
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:02 May 2014 10:09

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