Author(s)

Irene Sanders

Date Approved

8-22-2011

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Ed.D. Educational Leadership

Department

Educational Leadership

College

College of Education

First Advisor

Kuder, S Jay

Subject(s)

Brain--Research;Middle school teaching

Disciplines

Elementary and Middle and Secondary Education Administration

Abstract

The discipline of mind, brain, and education science is the merger of psychology, neuroscience, and education. Its focus is to address complex problems in education and provide evidence-based solutions. One facet of this mixed methods action research study expanded middle school teachers' knowledge of brain function and brain-based strategies through a five-part workshop series and created a ten session professional learning community. Participants selected strategies such as relaxation, working memory tasks, or taught students about their brains to increase academic achievement, and tracked two groups' progress. Strategy implementation was judged to be too time consuming except for relaxation exercises. Alternate classes were suggested for strategy implementation instead of core classes. At its conclusion, teachers gained usable knowledge affecting their lesson planning and teaching, some students' working memory scores increased, and some students gained practical knowledge of their learning strengths and weaknesses. Although mixed, these results support the continued use of empirical brain research to inform teaching practices in a middle school setting.

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