Five Topics for Educational Research

Here are five topics for research in education. The perfect gift for the college student wondering what to select as a topic, or the educational professional seeking to enlighten us with a breakthrough or two.

What nutritional elements elevate learning abilities?

Are there foods that aid in the educational process? Certainly there are foods to be avoided, such as an excess of sugar and the caffeine laden drinks that send my fourth grade students bouncing off the walls. There are the “New Age,” well intentioned, but ill informed folks, who would have us eat nothing but dandelion leaves. There are the hucksters promoting their “overnight weight loss/increased sex drive/mind calming/IQ enhancing wonder diets,” each bearing the disclaimer, “these findings are not substantiated by scientific research.” But is there any real scientific data out there? I’d be fascinated to learn.

What methods most greatly encourage elementary school students to read for pleasure?

What is the psychology behind the impetus some students feel, and some students will never experience? Is there a proven existent paradigm for greater success? What are the latest and most promising approaches? How do I break down the reluctant reader and infuse them with a least a cursory desire to read? All of these questions spark my intense interest.

Are newly arriving freshmen college students better or more ill prepared academically than 1966’s freshmen?

Educators decry the state of affairs of all things educational, and routinely proclaim a crisis is coming or already upon us. But just as every generation in America has resisted and maligned the favored music of their offspring, I suspect this educational outrage is equally ongoing and unending. Is there data supporting the claims that today’s freshmen are more ill equipped to deal with college life?

How does physical movement benefit brain development in elementary students?

I was amazed to learn of the correlation between regular physical movement and brain development in young children. What programs exist that would aid in my bringing movement – and by extension, greater brain development – to my students? What are the latest research findings on physical education’s impact on other areas of learning? What is the physiology involved?

How does art instruction influence other academic progress?

I infuse all my courses with art, and have found it tremendously helpful in capturing the attention of my students. I want to learn more about how art impacts student development, both to make myself better able to utilize this tool and to give myself greater justification for using it. I want to glean all the latest and most well documented research that supports my view that art instruction compliments all other subject lesson planning, captures the attention of a segment of students who would otherwise remain apathetic, and broadens the academic universe of all students.

As this is one of my own personal favorite topics, I’ll throw in a thesis, free of charge. “Art instruction in elementary school curriculums – often among the first targets of politicians seeking to balance budgets – is a powerful and practical educational tool, with far reaching and often underappreciated benefits.”

Possible subtopics include art as a means to reach at-risk and otherwise educationally challenged students; how art instruction gives students a welcome respite from more difficult subjects, re-energizes and makes them better able to focus; how art education compliments and augments standard educationally required subjects; statistical data suggesting (or proving) that students who receive instruction in art have higher grades and do better on standardized tests (assuming this is demonstrable).

Let’s see some data collecting out there!

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