Brain Based Learning Environments
Elton J. Davis
January 24th , 2011
Our currant educational system dates back to the Industrial Revolution at a time when our country prepared its people for agricultural work and factory jobs. The school systems and curriculums of the time were centered around the mass production mentality ( www.funderstanding.com/catagory/content/educatiion-history). The education system of that time prepared students to face the demands of the economy of the time. Times have changed and the United States education system has dropped off dramatically in the last several decades in comparison to other countries. The test scores of many Asian and European countries show large disparities in educational achievement. Recent breakthroughs in the many disciplines of Brain Based Learning have showed evidence that our educational systems need to incorporate a more brain based friendly environment into our school curriculums. It has been proven that the learning environment that a student is subjected to has a major impact in the ability of that student to learn. Extensive neurological research has shown how the brain works and different areas of science have used that information to develop suggestions how to incorporate them into learning and educational curriculum s and environments.
When educators look to incorporate brain compatible learning environments they need to understand the fundamentals of how the brain works. Neuroscience research offers new insights into how the brain works and how students learn and have prompted the development of new approaches to learning and teaching. Brain based learning and the teaching methods to support these methods can be found in four primary categories. The first and most prominent category is right brain left brain approaches followed by approaches that emphasize early brain development, approaches designed to develop multiple intelligences and brain based teaching approaches. Although the concept of brain-based learning has been applied most frequently to the improvement of learning outcomes for special education students. The premise is that boys and girls learn differently and therefore should be educated in separate classrooms where teaching methods and curriculum are suited to their respective learning styles. It is important to note that not all experts embrace the notion that brain- based teaching methods affect improved learning outcomes. In fact, some experts argue that the neuroscience research being used to advance brain based learning today actually supports many of the traditional methods of teaching methods that have already demonstrated their efficacy in affecting improved learning outcomes
(Jenson, E 2008).
For over 2,000 years there have been primitive models of how the brain works. Up until the 1950’s the brain was compared to an operator’s city telephone switchboard. Brain theory in the 1970s concentrated on the the right and left brain. Later, Paul McClean developed a concept of the Triune Brain which refers to the evolution of the human brain in three parts. In this theory McClean hypothesized that survival learning is in the lower brain, emotions were in the middle brain, and higher order thinking took place in the upper brain. Now brain based education has a more complete view of the brain (McClean, P, Triune Brain Theory). During the last two decades neuroscientists have be doing research that has implications for improved teaching practices as they have obtained much information on how the brain works from autopsies, experiments, and different types of scans -- MRIs, EEGs, PET and CAT scans. Information has been gleaned as neuroscientists construct clinical studies that use double blind, large, diverse, multi-age, multicultural groups of people to gather reliable...
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