Date of Award
Master of Arts in Education
The purpose of this study was to determine any measurable differences in student academic outcomes when they participated in activities designed to involve both hemispheres as compared to when they participated in activities designed to involve the left hemisphere . It was predicted that students who participated in more integrated/right brain activities would show higher academic achievement . It was further predicted that students who were right hemisphere preferenced would do better than those who were left hemisphere preferenced.
Two intact groups of Biology I students were taught the same four - chapter unit on cells , utilizing the same learning objectives a nd the same tests. For the control group , the enabling activities were designed to stimulate left hemispheric processes. Enabling activities used by the experimental group were designed to stimulate integrated/right hemispheric processes. Both groups were taught by the same teacher. Both groups were given pretests and post tests for each of the four chapters in the unit a nd a unit test . Student achievement on these tests was measured and compared to see if the two teaching approaches had statistically significant effects.
The students were in grades 9 through 12 , ages 14-17, enrolled in the first level of high school biology at Washington High School, Washington, Missouri.
Since intact group s were used, two tests were given to help measure the characteristics of each group. Scott, Foresman's Biology Test was used as an indicator of prior knowledge of biology and Torrance's Style of Learning and Thinking was administered in order to determine the hemispheric preferences of the students in each group. The tests showed a significant difference in hemisphericity. Although the test for prior knowledge did not show a significant difference between the two groups, the chapter pretests showed differences which led to the need for using an analysis of covariance.
Enabling activities used in the study were selected on the basis of relevance to learning objectives and hemispheric processes the activity involved.
An analysis of the post test scores of each group showed that the experimental group did not score significantly higher than the control group on any of the tests. A further analysis showed that there was no significant correlation be tween student hemisphericity and post test scores. Therefore, both experimental hypotheses were rejected .
Regardless of the results of this study , the researcher felt that there was enough other research on record to indicate that students actually benefited from brain compatible learning opportunities. It would seem that the two major factors affecting the results of this study were unequal intact groups and the threat of artificial setting. Future studies could be carefully designed to overcome these threats and limitations .
Aulenbacher, Rebecca M., "An Experimental Study Utilizing Integrated / Right Brain Processes in Teaching Biology" (1987). Theses. 432.
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