Faculty Mentors

Dr. Rebecca McMullen


Many adolescents place their heads down and close their eyes throughout the duration of a class period. Sleeping during instructional time directly affects the academic performance of a student. Participation is very difficult for those who have low attention levels. To ensure each student is provided with the greatest opportunity to achieve their highest potential academic learning gain, it is vital that each student is actively engaged throughout the lesson plan. Increasing a student’s potential to master the material relies heavily on the level in which the student is interacting with the three predominate learning styles: auditory, visual and kinesthetic. If a student is sleeping during the instructional period in which these learning styles are being addressed, the student’s potential to master the criteria decreases significantly. Individuals who have low attention levels force teachers to disrupt the learning environment of other students as the teacher interrupts their instruction time to provide verbal cues for a student to sit up or wake up. Teachers are often at a loss when faced with the dilemma of how to avoid disrupting their instructional time by continually having to pause the lesson in order prompt motivation and maintain the attention of students who perpetually sleep during the duration of the class period without breaking the attention and learning environment of the other students within the classroom. Research within the field of aromatherapy places an emphasis on investigating the effect of different essential oils on precise brain centers. The available research indicates the effectiveness of aromatherapy and the use of essential oils, such as eucalyptus and peppermint, to stimulate specific brain centers that are known to regulate an individual’s attention level. It is the lack of research regarding the effects of aromatherapy on alertness across multiple settings that makes the research of the effects of aromatherapy on alertness in an inclusion classroom vital. This research will provide further insight to not only how specific essential oils stimulate the brain to enhance alertness, but also the effects of specific fragrances of aromatherapy on alertness in various settings.

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