The Brain and Learning

This week my graduate class focused on the brain and how it learns.  I found it very interesting as I attended a workshop about brain research this year.  It is my personal opinion that students (children and adults) recall information that is relevent to their interest.  If there is little to no interest in the topic then I believe learning is minimal.  That is why, as teachers, we have to find ways to make out lessons interesting or we will lose the learner. The brain research workshop I attended focused on the senses and movement to incorporate learning. Through movement, we were taught a whole science lesson about how we process information.  It was amazing how I was able to recall all of the information because it was coupled with simple movement of my hands, arms and feet.  If that would have been text, I doubt I would have learned so much in that short time.  I immediately took the ideas back to the classroom and incorporated them into my math lesson.  My students are in first and second grade (combination class). We did a lesson on geometric shapes using movement and silly voices ,for our auditory learners, it worked great.  They were able to retrieve that information for the remainder of the year.  It is amazing how the brain works. 

In my search for more information on the topic, I was drawn to information from my school library on the Brain Compatible Classroom. Erlauer, Laura.(2003). Brain-Compatible Classroom: Using What We Know about Learning to Improve Teaching. Association for Supervision & Curriculum Development.  This contained a lot of useful information on how the brain works.  It starts with how the brain is made up and what parts of the brain control our body.  Then it moves to how we learn.  It tells us that the informations must be relevant content or of interest to the learner.  We are encouraged to improve teaching by making all topics interesting to students.  To provide some sort of “you need to buy this and here’s why” sense of urgency. 

This website would be useful if you are interested in how we place information in long and short term memory.  It gives ideas on how to use the information process in the classroom.  It also states that information, to be learned effectively, should be relevant to the learner otherwise it will be placed in short term memory. This website can also be used to determine how the brain receives and uses information and what is the best way to teach. It touches on the principals of teaching information in chunks, how to organization information for the learner, referring to prior knowledge, repetition learning and coding. I will use this website because it give the principal and an example for each.   The Information Processing Approach to Cognition (.n.d). Retrieved from http://chiron.valdosta.edu/whuitt/col/cogsys/infoproc.html

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