Carol Weimer

Publication Date


Document Type


First Advisor

Dorsch, Nina G.

Degree Name

Ed.D. (Doctor of Education)

Legacy Department

Department of Teaching and Learning


Middle school students--Illinois--Chicago; Long-term memory


The purpose of this study was to examine the perceptions of middle school teachers and students of the success of brain-based learning (BBL) as a means to achieving the goal of engaged learning and long-term memory (LTM) enhancement. When students can see the relevance of what they are learning and can use that knowledge in other areas, they are more apt to be emotionally engaged. When they are emotionally connected, they perceive a need to pay attention. This was a mixed-method study aimed at understanding the lived experiences of the participants— 181 middle school students and eight teachers. The study primarily utilized a qualitative design featuring teacher interviews (preobservation and postobservation), a classroom observation, and a student survey. The lessons taught were examined in terms of the same four areas: the enhancement of LTM, an emotional connection, relevance, and transfer of knowledge as a means to keep student interest high and to enhance LTM. The findings from the study indicate that teachers’ perspectives of the success of the BBL lessons were confirmed by students. Six of the eight teachers identified the strategies they used to teach the material as the same strategies that the students identified as the most interesting. Findings from the students’ perspectives indicated a higher than average rating for interest and attention. Conclusions from the study confirm that student engagement needs to be central to teachers’ planning of instruction and to students’ learning experiences. In this era of accountability, it is easy and tempting to neglect the BBL principles in favor of teaching to the test. It is imperative that teachers have adequate time for planning and continuing professional development support for implementing BBL approaches.


Includes bibliographical references (pages [172]-176).


xi, 217 pages




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