Meredith Krisell Dissertation Final Defense


The College of Education, Health and

Human Sciences

Announces the Final Examination of

Meredith Rae Krisell

for the degree of

Doctor of Education

May 14, 2015 at 11:00 am

405 Ball Hall, University of Memphis

Memphis, TN


Biographical Sketch

Bachelor of Science in Education, Elementary Education, Ouachita Baptist University

Master of Science in Education, Reading, Henderson State University

Advisory Committee

Satomi Izumi-Taylor, Ph. D., Professor, Instruction and Curriculum Leadership, Committee chair

Cathy D. Meredith, Ed. D., Clinical Associate Professor, Instruction and Curriculum Leadership

Vivian G. Morris, Ed. D., Assistant Dean for Faculty Development, College of Education, Health and Human Sciences

Shelly Lynn Counsell, Ed. D., Assistant Professor, Instruction and Curriculum Leadership

Major Field of Study

Instruction and Curriculum Leadership

Period of Preparation: 2011 – 2015

Comprehensive Examination Passed: August 2014

Teachers’ Perceptions of Teaching Reading and Writing Through the Use of Brain Research



Many teachers in Arkansas are bombarded with Common Core State Standards. Instead, the Arkansas Department of Education announced that 26 school districts were classified as academically distressed. With the continual growth of research, the educators’ task will be to utilize novel approaches that transport the harvest of the research to the learners. The purpose of this study was to examine six teachers’ perspectives regarding brain research when teaching reading and writing. Although all of the participants acknowledged the importance of brain research when teaching, some teachers in this study were not familiar with how brain research was helpful to teaching reading and writing. Qualitative research methods were implied, including interviews, observations, field notes, teachers’ lesson plans, student work, photos taken by the participants, and photos taken by the researcher. Five early childhood female teachers and one early childhood male teacher from one school with different educational backgrounds and teaching experiences was carefully chosen to partake in this study. Three themes emerged from the data analysis: constructivist approach, Developmentally Appropriate Practice (DAP), and reciprocity of reading and writing. Results of the study specified that all of the participants seemed to understand the importance of brain research when instructing students in reading and writing, but only two of the teachers showed evidence of the utilization of brain research in their classrooms. In regards to the best approaches when teaching reading and writing, it seemed that some teachers implemented constructivist approaches and DAP to support their students’ reading and writing skills, while others appeared to see the importance, but no alignment was evidenced by what they practiced. To support their students’ learning and development, some teachers taught reading and writing simultaneously. One teacher followed the Arkansas Better Chance Program when teaching. Teachers need to understand the importance of brain research to promote students’ learning.


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