Teachers' Perceptions of the Effects of Recess on Children: A Qualitative Phenomenological Study

Teachers' Perceptions of the Effects of Recess on Children: A Qualitative Phenomenological Study

Author: 
Marsha N. Prawl
Program of study: 
Ed.D.
Abstract: 
Some schools across the United States are replacing recess time for elementary school and relatively little research has been done regarding the impacts of this on students. This qualitative phenomenological study explored teachers’ perceptions’ of the effect of recess on elementary students, as well as teachers’ feelings regarding the value of recess play experiences for children. Two central questions guided the study and were addressed accordingly: What are the meanings of elementary teacher perceptions of recess for students? What do elementary teachers perceived are the effects of recess on students? Data collection consisted of face-to-face interviews from 10 teachers with school experience ranging from 2 to 25 years. Data gathered were coded and organized according to the research questions. The findings from the study were derived from open-ended semi-structured interview questions, and data from reviewed literature. Analysis of the data was done using manual coding with the aid of the NVivo ™ software. Based on qualitative analysis of the semi-structured interview transcripts from participants, 12 core themes emerged: (a) unstructured activity, (b) free expression, (c) teachers past experiences, (d) supports academic skills, (e) physical movement, (f) social interactions, (g) brain breaks, (h) exercise activity, (i) antsy, (j) calm children, (k) change in behaviors and (l) non-productivity. Research results supported the idea that recess should not be eliminated or reduced and should remain an integral part of the school environment. However, further studies are recommended regarding the effects of recess on student academic achievement.
Dedication: 
Psalm 96:4 says for the Lord is great and greatly to be praised. Without the love and covering of my Lord and savior Jesus Christ I could not have made it on this doctoral journey and through the difficult times. I give him all the honor and glory for strengthening and helping me to succeed. Keeping in prayers helped me to overcome when I did not have the strength to carry on. I want to dedicate this dissertation to my mother Claire Hunter whose words were constant reminders letting me know that it will be all right. This dissertation is also dedicated to my aunt Valerie Hunter my mother’s twin who held my hand, recited biblical scriptures, and always kept me in prayers. To my children Alonzo and Amari who stood by my side and remained patient and understanding. My wish is for them to pursue their endeavors by using me as an example. Last but not least, this dissertation is dedicated to my friends and family who gave me the inspiration and encouragement as they cheered me on. I know that I am truly blessed to have such friends and family by my side and I pray that I have made them all proud.
Acknowledgements: 
I wish to acknowledge Dr. Clifford Blizzard for his continued guidance and support throughout the doctoral process. Without him, I do not think that I would have made it to achieving this lifelong goal, and because of his encouraging words, I was able to persevere through the tough times. To Dr. Esmail and Dr. Bolser I want to thank you because I greatly appreciate your expertise and feedback in producing a quality dissertation. I also wish to acknowledge my fellow cohorts who guided me as we shared ideas and helped each other along the way.