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Five case studies investigating children's responses to the application of movement into their classroom curriculum

Penelope J Mahoney, University of Massachusetts Amherst


The purpose of this qualitative case study describes and analyzes the perspectives of five elementary classroom teachers using the application of movement in their classrooms and the learning through movement perspective of two children from each classroom. The study looked at the relationship between teachers' abilities to construct movement-based active learning experiences for their students, and how students responded to this method of learning. The research design involved in-depth interviews with five teachers and ten children beginning September 28, 2007 and ending in November 2007. The interviews were structured and unstructured, audio-recorded, transcribed and then coded. Three observations of each classroom were also audio-recorded, transcribed and additional reflections were notated in field notes. Each teacher and their selected students were treated as a case study in and of itself. Once each study was analyzed as a case, a cross-case analysis was used to develop a more sophisticated description. To increase trustworthiness and to minimize common threats to validity, triangulation, member checking, and peer debriefing were used by the researcher. The researcher discussed the findings as they related to the three research questions that guided the study's purpose: (1) To what extent do the selected teachers use movement to engage students in the active learning process? (2) To what extent can the selected teachers assess when the children derive meaning of classroom concepts using a movement-based active learning process? (3) To what extent do selected teachers change their teaching based on movement-based active learning? The data revealed that students were motivated to learn and were engaged when teachers provided movement-based active learning in a safe environment that embraced problem solving and allowed students to make choices. The data also revealed that the teachers were more aware of student's success or need for remediation when watching their movement, listening to their interactions, and asking facilitating questions. Finally, the teachers changed the way they taught when they have the desire, comfort, and understanding of the new teaching process. Each teacher in this study wanted to continue the use of movement-based active learning and find additional ways to use it in other curriculum areas.

Subject Area

Elementary education|Teacher education

Recommended Citation

Mahoney, Penelope J, "Five case studies investigating children's responses to the application of movement into their classroom curriculum" (2008). Doctoral Dissertations Available from Proquest. AAI3336948.