Breaking the Brain Barrier: The Effect of Brain Breaks on Fidgeting Behaviors in a Lecture Based College Classroom




Valdez, Isabel Celeste

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Concentration and focus in class is sacrificed for longer class periods with more students per class. In a college classroom, lecture style dominated programs and crowded classrooms make it more likely for students to experience lower attentiveness during class. This research seeks to provide a possible remedy for attention drops through the use of brain break” protocols in lecture style classrooms. Brain breaks in this case, are five to ten-minute activities with the goal of refreshing student’s minds and allowing them to focus better in the remainder of their class period. This work examines research on natural brain breaks and fidgeting behaviors and relates them via a case study performed in an hour and twenty-minute long college class in order to examine the benefit of placing breaks in lecture presentations. The brain break protocol was created using several different Brain Gym exercises and a fidgeting behavior checklist was generated based off of behaviors observed in a typical lecture class. Benefits were tracked using this checklist of eight chosen behaviors. Three students were observed in this case study, with each having their fidgeting behaviors frequencies recorded before and after brain breaks. The three students in this case study all showed improvements in attentiveness and lower frequencies of fidgeting behaviors. As a result, it is practical to say that in order to enrich the learning environment, professors and teachers should aim to incorporate brain break activities into their teaching styles.



brain breaks, lectures, students, case studies


Valdez, I. C. (2018). Breaking the brain barrier: The effect of brain breaks on fidgeting behaviors in a lecture based college classroom (Unpublished thesis). Texas State University, San Marcos, Texas.


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