Theses and Dissertations

Issuing Body

Mississippi State University


Elder, Anastasia D.

Committee Member

Wei, Tianlan (Elaine)

Committee Member

Brenner, Devon G.

Committee Member

Adams-Price, Carolyn E.

Date of Degree


Document Type

Dissertation - Open Access


Educational Psychology

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


College of Education


Department of Counseling, Educational Psychology and Foundations


The purpose of this study was to examine teachers’ availing and nonavailing epistemic beliefs about teaching and learning, with particular focus on beliefs about visual, auditory, and kinesthetic (VAK) learning styles; the study investigated VAK belief sources and justification, and the ways those beliefs were enacted in classroom practice. 660 teachers in Mississippi were surveyed, with the large majority (94.5%) reporting they believed that students’ learning styles are important for learning. Most teachers had been introduced to the idea in teacher preparation coursework, and few had heard about information suggesting learning styles were not supported by research. Teachers reported that they considered learning styles to be useful for student grouping, assessments, and instructional delivery. Implications for bridging educational psychology research and teacher practices are discussed in light of findings.