Brain Breaks and Student Engagement

Jocelyn Vanderwiel, Leah Nillas, Faculty Advisor, Leah A. Nillas

Research output: Faculty Advisor of Undergraduate Research


One of the most difficult jobs a teacher has is finding ways to keep students engaged throughout the entire day. In order to facilitate engagement in the classroom, brain breaks can be integrated into an every day routine. In this study, brain breaks refer to short physical activity breaks mostly consisting of aerobic-based dancing or stretching (Fedewa et al., 2015; Camahalan & Ipock, 2015). In this qualitative self-study, I discuss how the implementation of brain breaks can improve student engagement in their learning experience. Engagement is characterized by active participation in classroom activities and lessons as well as development of self-awareness of one’s needs as a learner. Data was collected through field notes, lesson plans, and classroom observations in a first grade classroom of twenty-six students, four of which had IEPs. My findings support the idea that incorporating brain breaks in the classroom can foster student engagement.

Original languageAmerican English
StatePublished - Apr 8 2017


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