PhD Research Study: Perceived Effectiveness of Movement Method Minimizing Stress and Improving Mental Health of German School Children

Grand Canyon University By Bianca Rimbach

Successfully Defended and Approved by All Dissertation Committee Members November 20, 2023


The purpose of this qualitative descriptive study was to explore how elementary school teachers in Nordrhein Westfalen, Germany described their experience with movement method with respect to students’ mental health and stress levels. The theoretical framework was Ryan and Deci’s (2000) self-determination theory. The two research questions were: How did elementary school teachers describe their experience with movement method with respect to their student’s mental health, and how did elementary school teachers describe their experience with movement method with respect to their student’s stress level? The sample included 20 teachers, 13 of whom participated in the interview and focus group, and were trained in movement method 1 and 2, implemented at least one of the six stages at an elementary school in Germany. Braun and Clarke’s (2021) six step reflective thematic analysis was used to identify five themes: Animal interventions (26 codes), inclusion and autism (61 codes), movement and physical activity (218 codes), mental health (337 codes) and environment (351 codes). Participants reported that movement method was useful for stress reduction, for inclusion, and students’ mental health. These findings from the study should lead to the implementation of movement method as an effective, innovative strategy to improve student stress reduction and mental health. More research is needed on the impact of the individual stages of movement method stages on student well-being as well as the impact on teacher well-being and reduction of burn out.

Keywords: Mental health, stress reduction, movement method, innovative teaching, best practice

Video of Dr. Bianca Rimbach explaining the results

Interview Participant Demographics

PseudonymAge (M = 49.2)Years of Experience in the Classroom (M = 17.25)Number of Students in Class (M = 21)
Note. Pseudonyms were chosen from the website names

Interview Data

VariableInterview DateDurationNumber of Transcript Pages (Times New Roman, single-spaced, 12-point font)
Maeve05 May, 202252 minutes20
Ezra04 May, 202250 minutes20
Luna03 May, 202253 minutes24
Charlotte02 May, 202259 minutes17
Ophelia15 April, 202257 minutes21
Ava14 April, 202252 minutes14
Aurelia13 April, 202243 minutes16
Alice12 April, 202261 minutes29
Aurora11 April, 202266 minutes24
Sadie08 April, 202249 minutes18
MeanN/A54.2 minutes20.3
TotalN/A542 minutes203

Focus Group Data

PseudonymParticipation LengthContributionsInitial Codes Produced
Alice59 minutes1619
Isla59 minutes625
Aurelia59 minutes1120
Eloise59 minutes620
Ophelia59 minutes1315
Mean Total59 minutes 59 minutes10.4 5219.8 99
      Code Appearances in Data   

Six Step Data Analysis Process

Note. Adapted from Braun and Clarke (2021), Six phases of thematic analysis.

Note. Adapted from “Horse Boy Method 1: Train the Trainer Handbook,” by Isaacson, R., 2019.

Flow chart to explain alignment with theoretical framework, recent scientific references and movement method:

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