Honors Theses

Date of Award

Spring 5-9-2020

Document Type

Undergraduate Thesis



First Advisor

Alicia Stapp

Relational Format



Students are experiencing higher levels of stress in and out of the twenty-first century classroom. Stress can affect a student’s ability to interact with their peers, interact with their teacher, and interact with the material they are learning. Different interventions involving physical activities related to martial arts have been successful in improving student empathy and confidence in an anti-bullying intervention (Law, 2004; Rajan, 2015; Twemlow et al., 2008). However, few studies have addressed utilizing physically active standards-based lessons rooted in martial arts alongside focus vocabulary words as a means of developing the whole child, inclusive of the social, emotional, physical, and cognitive domains. Therefore, this study examined the impact of a kung fu character-based intervention through a qualitative research approach. Third grade students at an elementary school in Northeast Mississippi were interviewed pre- and post-intervention. Three themes emerged from the interviews and were placed into the following categories: (a) improved self-performance scores; (b) shift in motivational reasoning from “my” to “I”; and (c) impactful student recall and application. These findings suggest the potential use of a kung fu character-based program to develop executive functioning skills, such as self-regulation, as well as social and emotional skills related to self-efficacy, based on the positive anecdotal evidence that emerged from this study.

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