Brain-Compatible Learning Environments
PSY 370: Learning and the Brain
July 18, 2011
Every student learns at his or her own level. When a teacher puts herself in front of a classroom she or he should consider all the different learning styles in the classroom, and should plan lessons to fit needs of different students. With brain-based learning (BBL) considered, a teacher can make lessons around different types of learners and therefore every student can be touched, and can be successful in the classroom. What is brain-based learning?
“Individual differences observed in the acquisition and processing of information during the learning process result in style differences in learning.” (Duman et al., 2010) Teachers should have an understanding of the brain and how it works so they know the different learning styles and can design and present learning materials that fit the different thinking and learning styles of the students in the classroom. This is brain-based learning. Brain-based learning includes understanding learning styles and adjusting curriculum in many ways to include a multi-dimensional approach to different learning styles of the brain. “It is a set of principles and a base of knowledge and skills through which we can make better decisions about the learning process.” (Duman et al, 2010) Ways to incorporate brain-based learning
There are several ideas to incorporate brain based learning in the classroom. Restaino gives a list of general ideas to help students learn in a brain-based way. First, curriculum should be constructed appropriately. Studies have shown that the brain does not learn information in the same way for more than ten minutes at a time. The senses should be used to present material. One suggestion is to present material for about ten minutes using a sense such as hearing, through music, lecture, or noises. After this ten minutes, to move to another sense such as visual, showing pictures or videos for the next ten minutes. After that ten minutes, move on to another sense and so on. (Restaino, 2011)
The second way to teach through brain-based learning is by eliciting emotion. When emotions are elicited the amygdala, which aids memory, is stimulated causing the student to remember information. Storytelling will often arouse emotions. An idea for eliciting emotions would be to ask the students to take a moment and reflect and maybe even journal on their feelings after a story is told or read. (Restaino, 2011)
A third way is to communicate with visuals. When using visual elements, it is much more likely that a student will remember what is taught then by just having the student read or listen to spoken words. Visual elements include anything that shows an illustration, such as charts, graphs, pictures, tables, objects and even videos. (Restaino, 2011)
A fourth way to aid learning is by breaking down concepts. When a brain is healthy, it remembers main points. A student needs to be given a main point, and have time to let it sink in and master the main idea before they are given the supporting points or details. The way to do this is to give the idea, give the students a minute to think about it, and then give the supporting points. (Restaino, 2011)
Lastly, information should be repeated. Repetition over time is more effective than information given at just one session. Repetition could be done by reiterating information during weekly assignments, and even revisiting the information occasionally. (Restaino, 2011)
The connection between the mind and the body can also be used to enhance learning. Brain function is increased through movement and blood flow. This increase in brain function leads to greater understanding, attention and retention. After a written task is taught, following the task with some kind of movement exercise may enhance the memory of the task that was taught. (Skoning, 2010)
References: Ali, R., Hukamdad, Rehman, S., Shahzad, S., Khan, H. (2010) The Impact of Brain Based Learning on Students Academic Achievement. Retrieved July 14, 2011 from ProQuest Direct Database.
Anonymous. (2008) LIFE: Making young minds work. Retrieved July 14, 2011 from ProQuest Direct Database.
Duman, B., Uygulamada, K., Bilimleri, E. (2010) The Effects of Brain-Based Learning on the Academic Achievement of Students With Different Learning Styles. Retrieved July 14, 2011 from ProQuest Direct Database.
Kormanik, B. (2002) Techniques aim at stimulating kids’ brains. Retrieved July 14, 2011 from ProQuest Direct Database.
Restaino, R. (2011) Gain Attention, Enhance Memory, and Improve Learning with Brain-Based Strategy. Retrieved July 14, 2011 from ProQuest Direct Database.
Skaning, S. (2010) Dancing the Curriculum. Retrieved July 14, 2011 from ProQuest Direct Database.
Veverka, J. (2011) Make Your Classroom Run Like a Well-Oiled Machine. Retrieved July 14, 2011 from ProQuest Direct Database.
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