January 24, 2011
Improving Student Test Scores Utilizing Brain-Based Learning People often say that everyone can learn. Every person is born with a brain that functions as an immensely powerful processor. Brain-based learning offers some direction for educators who want more purposeful, informed teaching. This paper will provide information on how brain-based learning works. In addition, discuss how brain-based learning is improving student test scores. Lastly, provide research findings on the benefits of brain-based learning. Creating stress-free environments, enhancing complex cognitive skills, and understanding memory become essential in brain-based learning. Receiving, encoding, storing, and retrieving information make sense as the memory pathways are defined. Assessing student learning becomes the simple task of accessing the same methods that were used for teaching. The more we understand the brain, the better we will be able to educate it. Brain-Based Learning (definition)
Brain-based learning is the informed process of using a group of practical strategies that are driven by sound principles derived from brain research. Brain-based education is defined by three words, engagement, strategies, and principles. It is learning in accordance with the way the brain is naturally designed to learn (Jensen, 2008). The overall goal of brain-based education is to attempt to bring insights from brain research into the arena of education to enhance teaching and learning. The area of science often referred to as brain research typically includes neuroscience studies that probe the patterns of cellular development in various brain areas; and brain imaging techniques, with the latter including functional MRI scans and positron-emission tomography scans that allow scientists to examine patterns of activity in the wake, thinking, human brain. These brain imaging techniques allow scientists to examine activity within various areas of the brain as a person engages in mental actions such as attending, learning, and remembering. Proponents of brain-based education espouse a diverse group of educational practices and approaches, and they generally attempt to ground claims about effective practice in recently discovered facts about the human brain. They argue that there has been an unprecedented explosion of new findings related to the development and organization of the human brain and that the current state of this work can inform educational practice in meaningful ways. Advances in brain science led brain-based educator David A. Sousa to proclaim that “no longer is teaching just an art form, it is a science” (Sousa, 1998). Principles of Brain-Compatible Learning that have Emerged from Brain Research. Educators who have a background in the neurobiology of learning and memory have a distinct advantage in their classrooms. By following the brain-based teaching principles we can create an enriched, brain-compatible environment and effectively counter such existing negative influences as stress, sleep deprivation, and poor nutrition. According to Ronal Kotulak in his 1996 book “Inside the Brain”, an enriched environment can contribute up to 25% increase in the number of brain connections both early and later in life. Our environments need to allow for active manipulation. To summarize, there are at least twelve principles of brain-compatible learning that have emerged from brain research. 1. Uniqueness-every sing brain is totally unique.
2. Impact of threat of high stress can alter and impair learning and even kill brain cells. 3. Emotions are critical to learning-they drive attention, health, learning and memory. 4. Information is stored and retrieved through multiple memory and neural pathways. 5. All learning is mind-body-movement, foods, attention cycles, all have powerful effects. 6. The brain...