Motor Training
Motor training to develop readiness, motivation and means of expression, as a
basis for learning programs Motor activity is fast becoming a valuable aid in
the teaching of academic subjects to elementary school children. The realization
of the place motor activity has in the classroom does not imply that physical
activity is a prerequisite to learning but rather a method through which a child
can learn more easily and understand more fully. Training in physical
coordination is not only helpful in providing a child with a mode for expressing
what has been learned, but it has become a factor in instilling in the child a
willingness and readiness to learn and has also introduced itself as a base for
a learning program. One writer, Maritain (1966), has described the function of
education as primarily a source of liberation. In the case of the child whose
learning problems stem from a learning disability, this liberation would consist
of allowing the child to move about, to explore, and to receive impressions, to
respond and to express. This call for movement as a basis of learning is further
substantiated by Getman's theory that the skill of motor control and
coordination is a necessary prerequisite to every intellectual activity. Cratty
(1970) further states that movement is learning; learning requires movement.

Some theorists seem to attribute all intellectual achievement to motor
development rather than viewing motor activity as an aid to learning. One theory
implies that certain motor activities when properly applied would prepare
children in the intellectual areas of spelling, reading, and similar
intellectual tasks during the child's first year in school. Cratty 1970). This
theory may hold true if the motor activities are somehow related to the
intellectual processes involved. It is important to remember that normal
children have other resources to draw upon, namely a brain which permits the
thinking and processing of ideas; movement alone cannot guarantee intellectual
achievement but motor activity incorporated with intellectual processes can be
tremendously successful. EXPRESSION One of the most undisputed ways in which
intellect is affected by motor coordination is in tasks involving the written
expression of intellectual thoughts in a certain area. One clinical study
involving children whose verbal intelligence quotients were fifty points above
their performance IQs showed that these children experienced a great deal of
frustration when directed to convey their thoughts to written word. (Hellmuth

1968). Although the problem may involve the children's ability to express
themselves there is a great possibility that they cannot write quickly or well
and that the frustration experienced when placed in the writing situation
interferes with their ability to formulate and express their thoughts. It should
be noted that this writer is aware of other causes of inability in written
expression other than strictly motor incoordination. As stated by Johnson and

Myklebust, (1967) some children cannot transduce visual information to the motor
system. This does not necessarily result from a visual or motor defect but as
this paper is not about disorders of written language it will not be explored
here. Since many of the so-called "show-what-you-know" tests are actually
speed tests, a child with an eye-motor incoordination is handicapped by an
inability to write quickly and accurately. If a child cannot move the hands
accurately when putting thoughts on paper, usually academic difficulties will
appear which could, in turn, lower the child's self-concept and contribute to
the cause of an emotional problem. Grace Fernald (1973) points out the
importance of avoiding a negative self-concept, due to failures, and the
resultant emotional disorder. Myklebust (1968) points out that training in any
aspect of a child's psychological development, such as motor, language,
perception, and higher cognitive functions will help the child's emotional
adjustment which will in turn lead to the ability to learn in school. One cannot
always determine if the learning problem is primary or secondary to the
emotional problem. Myklebust (1971) states that the following authors feel that
a positive relationship exists between the two variables of learning and
emotional problems; Bender, 1956, Bryant, 1966, Fernald, 1943, Gates, 1941,

Giffen, 1968, Harris, 1970, Natchez, 1968, and Rabinovitch, 1962. Bryant Cratty
(1969) recommends that children with visual-motor deficits be given special
attention motorically and practically. The latter involves simply allowing the
child alternative modes of expression, such as allowing the typing of tests
and/or assignments or permitting tests to be taken orally with the same
questions given to other classmates so that the child can succeed at a par with
peers. The second form of compensation, for these children, involves concrete
methods to improve their visual-manual skills through such tasks as a program
for the development of visual