By Allison Almandoz-Williams
‘There is no super computer more powerful than the human brain,” Dr Bobbi Hansen.
Hello again. Let’s pick up where we left off. Last week we covered some of the factors affecting brain development and today we are going to take a look at what brain-based teaching is and a few of the strategies that can be tried in the classroom or at home. The research is based on the findings of Geoffery Caine and Renate Nummela Caine who co-authored Understanding a Brain-Based Approach to Learning and Teaching.
The 1990s became ‘The decade of the brain’, which is why I’m happy to share this information with you and our parent partners to keep the collaboration going.
Fun fact: did you know at birth the brain weighs about one pound, grows to about two pounds and as an adult, weighs about three pounds–the brain is always changing and growing.
What is Brain-Based Learning
It is scientific research about how the brain learns. It encompasses teaching methods, lesson plans and school programmes. The overall goal is not complicated or unattainable. It includes factors such as:
· Cognitive development or ability to think.
· In different classroom environments, students learn differently.
· Students’ attention, learning and behaviour styles change as they grow or mature.
· Improving the social and emotional aspects of learning
Together, these factors help to create a learning environment where all students can thrive.
Strategies to apply
To achieve this goal, educators need to break down their instruction into smaller components. Shorter lectures followed by discussion are a more effective way of ensuring retention.
Some of the strategies below are not technical and you’ll be surprised to learn that you may already be putting some of them into practice:
· Engaging the whole body with breaks for movement and physical activity. When students move their bodies during lessons, take stretch breaks, and go for a short walk, they will become more engaged when they come back. While this may sound incredibly early childhood, don’t rule out older students benefiting from movement and physical activity.
· Offering positive reinforcement for mastering new concepts. When students are in a positive emotional state, they are more willing to engage in lessons. I remember my own feelings about learning Math (nay) and learning Languages (yay).
· Using storytelling or humour to stimulate more parts of the brain. Think about something in your past that was creative, memorable, and different. Emotions activated during learning help content to stay in your brain.
· Arranging group projects where students can teach and learn from their peers. Peer or buddy teaching is fantastic and one of the strategies I’ve always used. It builds confidence and trust in and among students and boosts memory.
· Modelling assignments in the real world challenges students’ experience and ensures retention. Parents and teachers should plan the assignments based on the needs of the student.
· A brain in pain cannot learn. At the start of the day, parents and teachers need to talk with their children about any issues they may be facing to reduce stress in the learning environment, helping them to talk through their feelings and emotions and practice social and emotional skills.
All students represent diverse types of learners in the classroom. The methods listed above capture their attention and harness a positive attitude and reaction to learning.
If we can plan lessons with humour, games, or current events that are of interest to their age groups, it will increase students’ participation, learning abilities, and processing skills.
More FOR WOMEN available HERE