Happy New Year Teachers and Friends! May 2012 bring new learning to us and our students.
Our brain is the main tool we use to learn and it makes perfect sense to know how it works and how it affects the learning of our students.
This year, TFT will continue to share more of its passion for brain based learning and teaching. We believe that the key to effective learning and teaching is the usage of techniques that are based on neuroscience.
Research on the brain and how it learns is always ongoing and will provide more insights on how we can teach and learn better in light of the scientific research behind it.
Here are 10 powerful brain based techniques you can start applying in the classroom this year.
1. Brain Food
Encourage your students to eat brain food. Brain food includes eggs, chicken, fish, dark green vegetables, bananas, whole wheat, berries, avocado and tomato products.
Brain Research: Our brain uses at least 20% of our food intake.
Get your students into the routine of drinking water before classes and during classes particularly in hot weather.
Brain Research: The brain’s capacity to learn is weakened when the person is dehydrated.
3. Mind Maps and Graphic Organizers
Teach your students to create mind maps and graphic organizers.
Brain Research: Mind Maps and Graphic Organizers helps students process information in ways that the brain actually stores it. It’s also a great way to do note taking. Colors and design structures in the mind maps and graphic organizers enriches the brain and helps it get stored in the long term memory easier.
4. Review System
Create a systematic review cycle for the material you teach in the classroom. Review key points you have just discussed after 10 minutes and so, then the next day, then again after 2 days, then after 7 days.
Brain Research: This cycle allows the smooth movement of the information from the short term memory, to the working memory and finally to the long term memory.
5. Stories and Personal Anecdotes
Kids love stories. Share with them your personal side. Make sure your stories and personal anecdotes have good messages and lessons.
Brain Research: Kids find stories compelling and interesting. It is an easy way to get their attention.
6. Bite Sized Learning
Teach content in small chunk sizes. Give them time to process the information and then provide rest for the brain.
Brain Research: Our working memory can only hold a few chunks. Also, the hippocampus, which holds midterm type of information also has limitations on what it can hold.
7. Brain Breaks
Give your kids breaks after getting their focused attention on the lesson. This gives them time to process it and renews the brain to take in new information after it.
Have them move around and get off their seat to bring in more oxygen and blood to their brain.
Brain Research: The brain cannot process too much content taught in a small time span.
8. Arts Integration
As much as possible, integrate arts into your classroom activities. Arts include drawing, painting, dance, theater and drama.
Brain Research: Studies show that arts boost attention, working memory and visual spatial skills. They are also found to improve social skills, empathy, timing, patience, verbal memory and other life skills.
Insert humor into your classes. It gives a positive feel to your class and creates a bonding experience for the teacher and the students.
Brain Research: Laughter stimulates the frontal lobes of the brain. Laughter also increases the level of oxygen in the blood as well as produces endorphins which promotes a sense of well-being.
10. Positive Classroom
Remove threats and negative vibes in your classroom as it triggers negative emotions in the students. Make your classroom positive and non-threatening.
Brain Research: Accroding to Priscilla Vail, author of Emotion: The On/Off Switch for Learning, negative emotions such as anxiety, fear, sadness, and anger disrupt memory, thinking and learning. Positive emotions on the other hand improve the learning process.
2) Learning with the brain in mind by John Joseph (Focus Education Australia)
3) Caine Learning Institute
I have some questions for you to answer in the comments below.
1) Which brain-based strategies have you been using already?
2) Which brain-based strategies do you plan to use as soon as possible?
3) What other brain based techniques can you share to fellow teachers and educators?
I hope you found this post useful. Please share it with fellow teachers and educators.
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Have an awesome 2012!