Capstone/Dissertation Title

Using brain research to create optimal learning environments in middle school classrooms





Degree Name



The research question addressed is, how can middle school teachers incorporate current brain research into designing learning environments that engage students' executive brain functions? The research centered on brain physiology with a focus on adolescent development. The goal of the project was to design a toolkit of instructional strategies promoting the use and development of the executive functions found in the brain's frontal lobes. Strategies were compiled for each of Caine, Caine, McClintic, and Klimek's three components: emotional climate, instruction, and active processing. Instructional strategies were designed and chosen based on their compatibility with Caine et als. 12 brain/mind learning principles. Other key influences included Sylwester, Restak, Jensen, Diamond and Hopson, Wolfe, Fogarty, Sousa, Marzano, etc. The resulting strategies provide the beginnings of a desktop toolkit and a framework for future use.

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