Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)

Degree Granting Department

Curriculum and Instruction

Major Professor

Ann Cranston-Gingras, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Phyllis Jones, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Sara Smith, Ph.D.

Committee Member

John Ferron, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Elizabeth Doone, Ph.D.


autism, educational neuroscience, embodied cognition, learning disabilities, neurodevelopment, physical activity, adhd


This study reports the findings of a mixed-methods investigation into learning and cognition that has been theoretically and methodologically positioned as embodied. Embodied learning places pedagogical value on the biophysiologically dependent nature of learning on the development of the central nervous system. Rooted in empirical evidence of structural and functional brain change through movement, the purpose of this study was to investigate the primary teaching and learning features of a neurodevelopmental approach to schooling. The research question was, how do interdisciplinary experts operationalize movement as fundamental pedagogy in a brain relevant school model? Methods included qualitative interviews, a consensus building Delphi survey with a panel of interdisciplinary, international experts, and a qualitative document analysis of movement approaches to neurodevelopment, teaching, and learning. Key results produced a list of 27 essential elements generated by a diverse Delphi panel that define a movement approach to schooling. Implications include a set of triangulated strategies to improve schooling for all students, and that address root causes of learning and behavioral difficulties, professional learning recommendations, and a new pathway translating research from neuroscience to education.