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Brain Based Learning Explained

When an educator understands how the brain works, he is better equipped to assist his students in several ways. He can help them focus their attention, which will increase their retention.

This is the promise given by brain based learning. This learning method draws insights from several fields, including:

  • Psychology;
  • Technology; and
  • Neurology.

When teachers understand this concept, it helps them to:

  • Keep diverse learners engaged.
  • Create a richer learning environment.
  • Offer valuable feedback that can lead to a deeper understanding.

By creating a rich learning environment, teachers have the ability to address their students’ emotional and social needs, as well as their minds.

6 Tips for Brain Based Learning

1. Make a safe learning environment.

2. Start early.

3. Encourage growth.

4. Get both brains and bodies in gear.

5. Embrace the potential of novelty.

6. Request feedback.

Many Teachers Already Use Some Brain Based Learning

Activating Prior Knowledge

When a teacher introduces topics to his students by activating prior knowledge, he is helping them build on what they already know. This strengthens the connections in their brains.

Utilizing Tools

Teachers who use rhymes, songs and graphic organizers are already using strategies related to brain based learning. These strategies assist students to represent their thinking kinesthetically, visually and phonetically. These techniques prime the brain for learning.

Several Brain Based Principles and How to Implement Them

1. The Brain is Social

Human beings are naturally social and seek contact with others. Some of the drive to be social is the desire to learn through imitation and respond to the behaviors that are seen. Individuals find meaning in the experiences and information obtained when in contact with others.

Educators have the ability to harness this drive by preparing activities that allow students to speak with one another and discuss what they are learning. By allowing this kind of activity, ideas are explored together and:

  • Modified;
  • Transformed;
  • Confirmed; or
  • Rejected.

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2. All Levels of Learning Involve the Body & the Mind

Whenever an individual acquires new information or has a meaningful experience, the brain will undergo a physiological change. This process is referred to as neural plasticity.

This physiological change includes small strands (dendrites) to sprout and over time, groups of these strands combine to create stronger structures that are called synapses.

The synapses are similar to traffic junctions allowing various information highways to intersect. Some experts state that when an individual learns something new, he is laying down a neural pathway.

When a particular learning pattern or experience is repeated, the neural pathway becomes even stronger. This shows that learning has physical, as well as mental impact on the brain.

Students learn better if they are given the opportunity to combine mental and physical activity together. Students become bored when they just sit all day. All a teacher needs to do is make his learning activities more active.

Although practice does not necessarily make perfect, it does allow students to firmly establish the information.

3. Searching for Meaning is Inherent

Human beings make sense of what they experience. So they organize their information and experiences in ways that are understood.

Interest is a huge factor in the way that an individual will filter the enormous amount of information that he is given. If an individual is interested in something, he feels the need to understand it.

Students are not always enthusiastic about the subjects they are being taught; however, there are ways that teachers can stimulate their students. By doing this, the innate desire to find meaning in what is going on will kick in and their learning experience will be more beneficial.

4. Emotions are Vital to Patterning

Neutral learning does not exist. Whenever an individual learns something, there is always an emotional response. This means that every decision has some kind of emotion linked to it.

This is considered one of the strongest implications of brain based learning. This means that the classroom is actually an emotional place.

Teachers need to encourage students to have positive attitudes. When teachers treat their students with respect, it builds a desirable environment that tends to help their students succeed.

Teachers need to utilize materials that draw their students into learning because it is presented to them in an attractive and inviting way.

According to Patricia Kuhl, who is a renowned language and brain development researcher, deep truths will be uncovered as the investigation into the child’s brain continues.

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