How Middle-school Teachers Perceive the Effects of Physical Activity on Student Engagement

How Middle-school Teachers Perceive the Effects of Physical Activity on Student Engagement

Author: 
Sabrina Runyon
Program of study: 
Ed.D.
Abstract: 
There are students who cannot stay actively engaged in class work; therefore, teachers must find ways to keep students focused on their assignments. The purpose of this qualitative exploratory case study was to explore and describe how middle-school teachers of a rural PK-8 school perceived the effects of physical activity on student engagement. Fifteen educators who teach grades 5 through 8 from rural southern West Virginia participated in a focus group and interviews. Physical activity time and classroom time (before and after physical activity) were observed, and the types of activities in which the students participated and the number of students active were documented to complete triangulation. Results of the study revealed that teachers believe that physical activity had positive effects on student engagement and that teachers needed professional development to learn new ways to implement physical activities. The motivation to incorporate physical activity included the teachers’ enjoyment of physical activity and the need for students to move throughout the day. Time, space, and weather were found to be barriers to implementing physical activity.
Dedication: 
This dissertation is dedicated to my family, to my mother and father, Danny and Wilma Lucas, who taught me the important things in life—love, compassion, empathy, humility, and work ethic. I have been blessed to have you as parents. Neither of you had the opportunity to finish high school, but you understood the importance of an education; to my siblings—thanks for standing in the gap for me with family obligations; to my husband, Tim Runyon, who never questioned the time I spent on my computer doing school work or all the money I spent to obtain my degree—You are my true love and my rock; to my sons, Timothy and Justin—You are my pride and joy; to my daughters-in-law, Deven and Katlin—You are priceless to me; to my grandson, Emmett, you have introduced me to another level of love. To all of you, I love and cherish our relationships. Each of you has a piece of my heart.
Acknowledgements: 
First, I would like to thank my dissertation committee: To my chair, Dr. Jennifer Yen, thank you for choosing to take me on as a student and for sticking with me throughout the process. To Dr. Barbara Foyil, thank you for the excellent feedback. To Dr. Robert Bobbera, thank for rescuing me at the end by agreeing to be a committee member. Second, I would like to thank my coworkers who believed in me and cheered me on throughout this process. Thank you to Susan and Marianna for the picture that reminded me daily that I would earn my degree to display in the frame you purchased for me. A big thank you goes to my Superintendent, Assistant Superintendent, and Administrative Assistant for encouraging me. To Jennifer, Jessica, Virginia, and Christie, I apologize for all the times you had to listen to me talk about my paper and the process. Thank you for being patient.