Publication Date

Fall 10-30-2012

Degree Name

Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT)

First Advisor

Susan Barduhn


Movement is a vital part of our every day lives, and it is also important for a healthy brain. The following paper examines the shift from movement based learning to a more restrictive rote format, which often has adverse effects on learning. This work discusses the ways in which teachers are under pressure to “teach to the test” instead of creating student-centered classrooms. Some of the side effects of a test-centered approach are low self-esteem (from not meeting strict academic requirements) and behavioral problems in students.

Adding more movement to lessons can provide variation and relief from the rote-only system. Dr. Ratey (2000) said, “Movement is miracle grow for the brain.” In the 1990s, neuroscientists discovered something called brain-derived neurotropic factor (BDNF), which nourishes neurons like fertilizer (p. 23). This substance increases with movement. Other leading research shows that movement enhances brain function by increasing communication between the cerebellum and the rest of the brain.

The final chapter explores ways that teachers can incorporate more movement into their classrooms without adding to their overall preparation time. In fact, these activities will save time in the long run because they can be recycled and modified. Adding movement and activities will also enhance the quality of the classroom, cut down on lecture time, and address behavioral problems caused by boredom. Finally, teachers can use Howard Gardner’s “Multiple Intelligences” as a template to create a variety of activities that deal with different student learning abilities.


Bilingual, Multilingual, and Multicultural Education | Curriculum and Instruction | Curriculum and Social Inquiry | Education | Educational Methods | Educational Psychology | Gifted Education | Instructional Media Design | Other Education | Social and Philosophical Foundations of Education | Teacher Education and Professional Development