Date of Final Oral Examination (Defense)

5-2010

Type of Culminating Activity

Dissertation

Degree Title

Doctor of Education in Curriculum and Instruction

Department

Curriculum, Instruction, and Foundational Studies

Major Advisor

Keith Thiede, Ph.D.

Abstract

Research on how the brain perceives, processes, stores, and retrieves information is important to guide pedagogy, yet many schools continue to promote practices that are inconsistent with practices suggested by brain research. Brain-based teaching practices promote a more holistic approach to teaching that acknowledges the interconnectedness of the brain and how it naturally learns.

In order to explore brain-based teaching practices, this study focused on a high school (grades 9-12) in southwestern Idaho to determine whether teachers’ perceptions of their use of brain-based teaching strategies are consistent with the strategies they demonstrate in the classroom. Data included two original instruments: a 12-item self-assessment survey to measure teachers’ perceptions, and a 12-item rubric to serve as a checklist to measure teachers’ behaviors during a one hour classroom observation. Both instruments were aligned with one another and based on Caine, Caine, McClintic, and Klimek (2005) 12 brain/mind principles.

Teachers, who volunteered for the study, filled out a 12-item survey. The scores on the survey were compared to the scores on the rubric to determine the strongest overall competence with regard to brain-based teaching strategies and how it related to the teachers’ claims of using brain-based strategies. In addition, data included field notes, a 20-30 minute in-depth, open-ended interview with the teachers, and classroom artifacts, such as assignments, assessments, and students’ writings, to provide evidence of brain-based teaching strategies and to clarify instructional procedures.

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