Laura KnightFollow




School of Education


Doctor of Education (EdD)


Leldon Nichols


Brain Breaks, Cognition, Elementary School, Recess


Curriculum and Social Inquiry | Education | Educational Assessment, Evaluation, and Research | Educational Psychology | Elementary Education and Teaching


The purpose of this phenomenological qualitative study was to collect the perceptions of elementary teachers on the influence of recess and brain breaks on students within the instructional day capturing the essence of their voice through analysis. Participants included 10 teachers at Smith School District (pseudonym used) in the southeastern United States of America. One of the theories guiding this study was Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs (Maslow, 1954) as it was in question whether elementary teachers perceive that students must have their need for physical movement met in order for optimal learning to occur. Another theory guiding this study was Bandura’s Theory of Social Cognition. Bandura’s theory asserts that people learn through social interactions and by watching others (Bandura, 2004). This concept relates to this study in that physical activity in the school setting is a social event that produces observable benefits. Data were collected via one-on-one interviews, a focus group, and open-ended anonymous questionnaires. Data analysis was conducted utilizing Moustakas’ Seven Steps. The essence of the voice of elementary teachers’ perceptions of the benefits of recess and brain breaks occurring during the instructional day included academic benefits of improved focus and stamina, health benefits of decreased obesity and increase in overall health, improved social skill development and therefore classroom behavior, and overall wellness.