Cookies on this website

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Accept all cookies' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. If you click 'Reject all non-essential cookies' only necessary cookies providing core functionality such as security, network management, and accessibility will be enabled. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

© The Author(s) 2014. When language is processed, brain activity occurs not only in the classic ‘language areas’ such as Broca’s area, but also in areas which control movement. Our systems of understanding, including higher level cognition, are rooted in bodily awareness which needs to be developed as a precursor to intellectual reasoning. Cognition is embodied, and this concept may offer a radical new way of improving school education by improving children’s systems of physical understanding. A new classroom physical intervention, called Move4words, based on embodied cognition, was developed for pupils aged 7–13 years and trialled with 348 typical pupils in 10 mainstream UK schools. Three pilot controlled trials showed significant improvements in academic performance, particularly for struggling pupils performing in the lowest 20 percent. Effect sizes were large for the lowest achievers: Hedges’ g = 0.86 for national examinations at age 11 (KS2 SATs) and g = 1.24 for progress through National Curriculum Levels in reading, writing and maths. Performance gains were maintained for at least 1 year after the end of the intervention.

Original publication




Journal article


Improving Schools

Publication Date





83 - 100