Conscious Discipline and Brain Gym Strategies with Kindergartners

Calderone, S., & Isola, C. (2008). Brain-Based Classroom Management: Conscious Discipline and Brain Gym Strategies with Kindergartners. Unpublished research.

Type of report: Research Report, Case Study, Descriptive/Anecdotal

Summary: This report looked at the effects of implementing Conscious Discipline and Brain Gym strategies on student behavior in a diverse kindergartner classroom of 17. The authors (a local teacher and intern in the State College Area School District of Pennsylvania) collected data over a one month period on 1) tattling and conflicts between students, 2) emotional outburst and breakdowns, and 3) length of transitional time between activities. They used a tally method to record the frequency of tattling and conflicts. To address emotional outburst and breakdowns, they implemented a Safe Place where students could visit if they were upset or angry. Anecdotal notes and observations were collected on this. To collect data on transitional time, the authors timed how long transitions took between activities and how long the children took to begin working on their task after transition.

Evidence/Findings: The authors reported five main findings: 1) The Safe Place is an effective self-calming resource for angry or upset students, however, not all students appear to use the Safe Place; 2) Brain Gym is an effective way to decrease disruptions during transition times; 3) Implementing these strategies reduced the amount of observed conflicts among students; 4) Implementing these strategies appears to be an effective tool for motivating students to perform more unprompted acts of kindness and lower reports of tattling, however, it is also noted that students also start performing menial acts for the reward and praise;  and 5) Students are more likely to use Conscious Discipline language when teachers model it consistently and often.

Note: The report notes not only findings but also some of the significant limitations of this study. The study does raise some new questions and should be taken into consideration when informing future research.

Read the Report