Supervisors: Prof Iroise Dumontheil & Prof Michael Thomas (both Birkbeck)
My research focuses on qualitative aspects of physical activity and their impact on cognition and social and emotional learning in primary school children, with a view to improve how physical education is taught in schools. My motivation for this topic began during my time teaching yoga and dance in inner city London primary schools as a way to improve outcomes for disadvantaged children. My aim is to develop a sustainable way to apply my findings through primary school teacher CPD.
I have been teaching yoga and creative movement at inner city London schools for over 5 years. To complement my teaching experience with a more rigorous psychology foundation and practices in an education context, I completed a master’s programme with The Faculty of Education, University of Cambridge. There my work highlighted how physical activity may help disadvantaged children's academic achievement by improving their self-regulation. My findings suggest that early and sustained physical activity is an important element in children’s development and schooling. I am now carrying out an ESRC-funded doctoral research project investigating the qualitative aspects of physical activity and how they influence cognition and social and emotional learning. I am also a research advisor for Observatory for Sport in Scotland.
Vasilopoulos F, Ellefson MR (2021) Investigation of the associations between physical activity, self-regulation and educational outcomes in childhood. PLOS ONE 16(5): e0250984. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0250984
Awards and funding
ESRC +3 PhD studentship (2020 – 2023): Fully funded studentship