Sari Kontra: Forget sitting and studying - start climbing, jumping and learning!

Sari Kontra (M.Ed.) is a 27-year-old class teacher who will rather take her students outdoors to the monkey bar than stay and teach in a traditional class room environment. Kontra believes that by incorporating physical activity and new forms of functionality into our teaching, we can tackle many of today’s challenges in the field of education.

When Kontra finishes her speech at TEDxOtaniemiED, you will not be sitting!

How did you get the idea for your TEDx talk?

The idea itself was very clear: my background as an international primary school teacher had challenged me to find new ways to contribute to my pupils' learning. When I have a roomful of kids whose needs and skills are very different, I also need to find new ways to teach them.

I used to work as a gymnastics coach for many years and being physically active is something really natural to me. Therefore, I wrote my Master's thesis about physical activeness in primary schools, and after that started teaching through physical activity in my own work. I noticed quite quickly that this method motivated both me and my pupils, so it was easy to keep on going.

What would you like to happen to your talk and your message?

I hope everybody could find their own fun and passion in learning (and teaching). Although my way is to teach through physical activeness and it makes me feel excited and happy every time I do it, someone could find their own fun in music, drama, art, handicraft, discovering nature - actually anything that makes them feel good while they teach and/or learn. The most important thing is to devote yourself to something that feels good and motivates you in everyday life. Believe me, this has a positive effect on pupils' learning results and also to the teacher's own well-being.

What are you doing next?

Giving birth (laughs)! The bump that can be seen on TEDx video is going to disappear and the most important employer of my life comes out pretty soon. After my TEDx talk, however, I have already worked pretty hard in both educational and sport sectors (i.e. in the Finnish Olympic Committee) and combined best practises in both fields. I have met many interesting people and shared ideas with them, and prepared for my soon-to-be-announced blog about teaching through physical activeness and other closely-related topics.

Where can people find you?

During my maternity leave I keep myself active in social media (Facebook, Twitter and Linkedin) where I share my ideas and thoughts according to this important topic. If you're lucky, I can also be found in educational seminars in Finland and possibly abroad. Naturally, when my baby is a bit older, I'll go back to my actual work as a teacher in an international school either in Finland, or some other country. I believe that my thoughts and ideas can be shared and verified only through my own, real-life-based experience and, in addition, working with kids is the thing that motivates me the most.

The talk is illustrated with Sketchnotes by Linda Saukko-Rauta at 

The talk is illustrated with Sketchnotes by Linda Saukko-Rauta at