For many years science and education have concentrated on learning and the mind, but today’s neuroscientists and educators are seeing learning from a different scope – the brain. From this viewpoint, learning is creating links – by linking the information in which the student has prior knowledge or interest, the student is able to expand upon this and learn something else which he can relate it to. For example, in a history class when discussing Native Americans, a teacher may ask the students relate prior information they have on Native Americans. This can come from personal experiences - like seeing a burial ground, or finding an arrowhead; it can even be a movie the student relates it to. By doing this the teacher is making a personal connection between prior information the student has already attained and processed, and linking it to the information to be discussed in the class (Slavin, 2009) .
Another learning stimulus that creates a learning link would finding something the student is interested in. This can be illustrated in the same scenario – students in the southern states often find Indian relics in their own backyards, piquing their interest in what happened right where they stood hundreds of years ago. By linking the information in which they have a personal interest with the information taught, once again a connection in learning within the brain is created (Watts, 2009).
Importance of Meaningful Learning
Innately the brain seeks to find purpose or meaning in design and patterns, yet refuses to accept the meaningless (Deveci, 2009) . Importance of Meaning Learning is the process of learning through sensory development within the students environment which is personally meaningful and interesting (Houser & Osborne, n.d.). In so doing, we ultimately attach and construct new knowledge through the experiences in which we have already knowledge (Deveci, 2009). The key points of Meaningful Learning have been defined by the nationally recognized academic group Positive Action as being: •“Intuitive/innate
•Complex, adaptive, patterned, affected by emotion
•Intra- and interpersonal
Simultaneously involving physical, intellectual, and social/emotional areas of the self for rote and meaningful learning •Unique and developmental for each learner (Positve Action, 2007).” In practical terms what this means is, things such as pictures or phrases which have significance to the learner are more efficiently processed, and information attached to these items are more effectual in the learning process. The key part is finding exactly what is meaningful to the student(s). This is exemplified by the students studying Native American dances and there meanings before a field trip to an active reservation where dances will be performed (Watts, 2009).
Knowledge of Background
Each student enters each class with information they have already acquired from previous learning experiences. It is the teacher’s role to decipher and gain knowledge of each student’s knowledge of background. In so doing, the teacher should then adapt and develop her lesson to utilize this knowledge to enhance further learning. Often time’s organizers are used to make a visual representation and comparisons to background information to that of information being taught (Slavin, 2009). An example of this would be a Venn diagram comparing the holiday of Christmas, which the student is familiar, with the holiday of Hanukkah, in which the student has only newly taught knowledge.
Levels of Processing
The levels-of-processing effect, identified by Fergus I. M. Craik and Robert S. Lockhart in 1972 proposes that learners employ various levels of elaboration and expansion as they process information. The major proposition is that learners utilize different levels of elaboration as they process information. This is accomplished in a manner ranging from perception, through attention, to labeling,...