Date of Completion


Document Type

Open Access Capstone

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

First Advisor

John R. Murray

Second Advisor

Maxine DeBruyn

Third Advisor

Margaret Musmon


In the past decade, the American school system has come under scrutiny. American children are scoring lower than children from other countries on standardized tests. What can be done to ensure that American students are able to compete in the technological world of today? Many educators believe that in order for children to fulfill their potential, they must be given more than information and knowledge. They must be taught how to think, how to use the knowledge they learn in school. Researchers such as Robert H. Ennis (1987, 1993) and Matthew Lipman (1995) believe thinking must be advanced in the schools. It must be practiced. Teachers must challenge their students and provide them with opportunities to make decisions, solve problems and be creative. Other researchers such as Harvard University's Howard Gardner believe students will learn better if all of their "intelligences" are nurtured. This theory advances the belief that there is more to intelligence than an inborn general intelligence factor. The Multiple Intelligence (MI) theory believes "that human cognitive competence is better described in terms of a set of abilities, talents, or mental skills, which we call 'intelligences" (Gardner, 1993 p. 15). The seven identified are the musical, bodily-kinesthetic, logical-mathematical, linguistic, spatial, interpersonal and intrapersonal. Gardner and his colleagues hold that students will benefit from instruction incorporating more than the verbal and logical intelligences. This thesis examines the aforementioned trends of teaching thinking skills and utilizing a multiple intelligence approach in the classroom. It then presents creative movement as a classroom activity which stimulates "intelligences" often overlooked in the classroom while also promoting critical and creative thinking skills in children. It has been shown in studies that movement can stimulate a child's interest in school (Fowler, 1994). Creative movement stimulates decision making, problem solving and communication skills as well as the creative affinity needed to produce excellent thinkers. All of this research culminates in the development of a workshop for elementary school teachers. The workshop is designed to introduce teachers to creative movement so they have the knowledge and confidence to utilize creative movement as an educational tool within their own classrooms.