Date of Award

1-14-2013

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Education (Ded)

Department

Professional Studies in Education

First Advisor

George R. Bieger, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Valeri R. Helterbran, Ed.D.

Third Advisor

David G. Lorenzi, Ed.D.

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to determine K-12 teachers' knowledge, beliefs, and practices of brain-based learning strategies in western Pennsylvania schools. The following five research questions were explored: (a) What is the extent of knowledge K-12 public school teachers have about the indicators of brain-based learning and Brain Gym?; (b) To what extent do K-12 public school teachers rate the value of brain-based learning and Brain Gym?; (c) To what extent do K-12 public school teachers report implementing brain-based learning indicators in their classrooms?; (d) What is the relationship between K-12 public school teachers' level of knowledge of brain-based learning and indicators of Brain Gym and their beliefs about brain-based learning?; (e) What is the relationship between gender, years of teaching experience, grade level being taught, and teachers' knowledge, perceptions, and implementation related to brain-based learning? The participants (N=256) included in this study consisted of K -12 public school teachers within three selected school districts in western Pennsylvania. The data was collected by using the Brain-Based Learning Survey Questionnaire (BBLSQ), developed by Shelley Klinek (2009), and was administered electronically using an online survey software program called Qualtrics. The survey was designed to measure participants' knowledge, beliefs, and practices of brain-based learning strategies. The results of the study indicate that teacher's knowledge of learning strategies are related to their beliefs about those strategies, as well as their instructional practices. It was further determined that teachers had positive attitudes towards learning new strategies; they feel it is important to demonstrate and show educators new ways of teaching; and they feel the need to be more adequately trained in the area of how the brain learns best. This study indicates that teachers are interested in how students learn best, and are willing to change their teaching practices to improve the learning process.

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