A break please!

Reloading my batteries: Adolescents document and investigate places for their cognitive restoration

Everyday school life challenges pupils their cognitive abilities decrease during the day while at the same time their stress levels increase. As a consequence pupils are less able to concentrate, they cannot absorb the subject matters sufficiently and are out of balance.
Where do pupils hve the possibility to restore and reload their batteries to increase their cognitive capacities? Do they recover during playing computer games, face booking, attending a coffee shop or walking in a park or forest?
The project “A break please!” investigated the restorative effects of indoor and outdoor places on the cognitive abilities and perceived well-being of Viennese pupils. The pupils used video diaries to document and analyse their favourite places regarding perceived restorative effects. They reflected their everyday behaviours regarding stress and strains and the role of restorative places for their life quality. They measured the restorative effects of several places using psychological and physical methods in order to compare perceived versus measured effects. In addition, the pupils investigated the role of restorative places for different age groups. They developed strategies how to integrate restorative effects of specific places and activities into their daily life including everyday school life. They proposed measures regarding the access of restorative places and presented their results to stakeholders from public health, city planning, and environment.

The study results serve for the research on the effects of restorative places for adolescents compared to other age groups and in dependence of place types. In this inter- and transdisciplinary project pupils worked together with researchers, practitioners and administration officers from public and environmental health, recreation planning and environmental engineering.

This project has been completed.