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ACEF Journal Vol 3 Issue 1 December 2012

Zellner Morris Burch Summary of Differences and Similarities of the School Sites At all three school sites, the research team observed hands-on learning occurring in each classroom where teachers have embraced the BCL philosophy. Teachers who were observed to be more familiar with the BCL philosophy had a wide variety of activities for their students. Music and lighting appeared to be intentionally used as a strategy for engaging students in classroom activities at both Over-The-Hill and International-With-A-Facelift elementary schools. Florescent lighting was said to be kept at a minimum within the classrooms. The predominant theme that emerged from interviews and observations indicate that Have-It-All is the result of strong leadership and community action. The surrounding community wanted a neighborhood school that represented the BCL philosophy, promoted student success, encouraged parental involvement, and embraced the cultural diversity and community heritage. Their determined efforts seemed to produce the desired outcome. Regarding design, space, lighting, and structure, the facility truly reflects the BCL philosophy described in the literature (Caine, 2000; Earthman & Lemasters, 2009; Oliver & Lippman, 2007; Picus et al., 2005; Sylwester, 2000; Uline, 2009; Valiant, 1996). Have-It-All Elementary represents what the other two schools in this study hoped to create with remodeling. Consistent leadership, low teacher turn over, and continuous “recognized” ratings illustrate how effective the school has been in creating a learning community over the years since its inception. Similar to Have-It-All and Over-the-Hill elementary schools, students and teachers at International-With-A-Facelift have embraced brain compatible learning strategies. It was their belief that success with BCL strategies would improve academic performance, student attendance, and student engagement in learning tasks. Behavioral problems have decreased and state assessment scores have increased since BCL was introduced 12 years ago. As summarized by several teachers, this phenomenon was due to the fact that their students hated to be pulled from the classroom. The researchers observed children truly enjoying learning and teachers enjoying the flexibility to accommodate individual students. International-With-A-Facelift appeared to be a BCL theory success story. From the researchers’ perspective students and teachers at Over-The-Hill embraced the learning strategies of brain compatible learning, but did not have the opportunity to utilize what they learned during their training in BCL strategies. According to teachers interviewed, this was due to the continual building modifications being made during the last six years. Classrooms, doors, furniture, and restrooms designed for younger children in grades Pre-K–2nd had to be redesigned to fit the needs of additional grade levels 3rd-5th. Discussion Preliminary findings show a connection between indirect and/or direct application of BCL affecting teacher and student perceptions of learning and teaching in some settings. Teachers working in facilities that have been specifically designed with the learner and the process of engaged learning in mind seem to be able to move beyond the very things that get in the way of instruction. For example, teachers in Over-the- Hill Elementary still had to work within the confines of a set space. The library was still far from most classrooms so they had to plan time within their lessons to make those trips. Time away from instruction seems to be a key factor in teaching and student learning on this campus. Teachers at Over-The-Hill had to spend 53 Vol. 3, No. 1, 2012


ACEF Journal Vol 3 Issue 1 December 2012
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