Brain-based strategist for creating an effective learning
For some reason, students have adopted the memorization technique as a pillar of their education. And even the education system sometimes defines students' success based on how perfect they're at memorizing content and ideas for exams.
However, information learned through memorization is not suitable for long-term retention and should not be used to measure skills. In fact, there are high chances that learners would forget what they memorize and become more stressed during tests and examinations.
For these reasons, teachers need to implement quality techniques that help students recognize, understand and retain information learned. These can best be achieved through deploying brain-based learning strategies.
Understanding brain-based learning strategies
The human brain has a lot of tasks to do, especially in the classroom. You have take-in information, remember, filter, connect or relate and remember the information for speedy and effective learning.
Brain-based learning, therefore, centers on one's brain's ability to adapt or change and reorganize itself when you’re learning new ideas. The ability is influenced by both chemical and biological processes- diet, exercise, and stress levels.
Your emotional state can impact your learning ability. For instance, mental health issues would affect learners' dependability, concentration, optimism, and energy levels, hindering their performance. Also, research suggests stress, anxiety, and depression are critical contributors to lower grades and higher school dropout.
Therefore, brain-based learning is the education techniques, instructional programs, and designs that focus on how the brain functions. Those teaching methods that are brain-friendly and not threatening but challenging. Most importantly, strategies that provide the environments which immerse students’ in skills and experiences and allow them to entirely process the information learned.
But to adequately process information, teachers must ensure the ideas and concepts are presented in proper ways that would allow the brain to function better.
Brain-based learning principles and strategies for effective education
Most education and scientific research surrounding brain-based learning techniques focus on neuroplasticity. And since a persons' brain neural connections reorganize, remap, or change when learning new ideas, individuals need to practice new skills.
So, to achieve adequate learning experiences and skills that would improve the students understanding and mastery of concepts, teachers must consider the following principles and effective learning strategies:
Effective learning should engage the whole body
A healthy body would promote a healthy mind. This implies that teachers should ensure their learners eat healthily and exercise more for practical brain function. The more students are physically engaged, the more active they'd stay in the classroom.
Therefore, include breaks and get your students moving, jumping, and playing football. You can as well organize midday races or games between classes. Allowing your students to take breaks or play between lessons would help revitalize and increase their attention span, thus improving their attention and retention for another session.
Simply put, physical activities and aerobic fitness has been found to enhance brain executive function and health, including cognitive processes. Meaning students who participate in practical exercises benefit the most.
Human brains are social and interaction improves brain development
The social conditions can significantly impact student performance. For instance, if students are isolated or have poor social relationships with others, chances are high they won’t learn from their colleagues.
However, the brain grows better in concert with others. Therefore, students who embrace the code of acceptance, reciprocity, and cooperation have high chances of learning or acquiring skills to improve their performance.
To create the best out of the social groups, teachers should assign projects into groups. This boosts students' cooperation, which is one of the most excellent ways to learn from their colleagues. When students teach or learn from their peers, they understand and retain the same information. Just ensure you give the task to small and influential groups.
How can you implement practical group work?
Sure, group work can be a powerful method of motivating or encouraging students’ active learning. However, if not carefully managed or implemented, group work can feel like a waste of time.
So, to prepare for group work, instructors must:
· Think about the physical arrangements and layout of the classroom. So, moderate the class activities to control the volume.
· Establish some ground rules for practical cooperation or collaboration
· Insist and instill some professional and civil conduct among the students and make them understand and respect other people’s differences for inclusivity.
While designing the group task, ensure you:
· Identify your instructional goals; make known what you want to achieve by creating the groups. Objectives could be listening, social skills or knowledge of a specific topic.
· Decide on the right group size. Of course, this would depend on several factors, including; task assigned, classroom size, the number of students and the variety of voices or skills needed.
· Give task that encourages involvement and equality; ensure all the group members develop a sense of responsibility for the entire group's success. Allocate essential learning resources across the whole group.
Brains are unique and every student is different
In every school, setup exists different students with different understanding, retention and skill application techniques. Meaning that every brain of these students is unique, and they become unique as they grow or age.
In other words, this principle suggests that not a single delivery technique or teaching method used by teachers would be effective for all the students. Some must prefer specific ones to others. Therefore, ensure you include a variety of teaching techniques like:
Provide both written and verbal learning information; having students write and verbalize various concepts would help boost their short and long-term memory.
Incorporate visual elements. Vision is the strongest of all senses, and most individuals learn, absorb and recall most of the information they see than what they read. Therefore, in addition to the spoken and written contents, ensure you introduce drawings and pictures to improve your students' learning experiences. You can also deploy video gaming to bolster training and stimulate students’ senses.
Meaning is more critical to the brain than the information
Gone are the days when teachers had to cover more chunks of data within a short duration. Or when students were to memorize vast amounts of information to pass exams. Instead, teachers should administer new information in small chunks that allow the students to process the idea and the rest of the brain.
Since the brain is meaning-driven, it means students won't understand, process or apply too much content quickly. That said, instructors should ensure they spend less time giving complex concepts and provide a 7th inning stretch or brain-break before covering another new idea.
Also, ensure the information is meaningful and relevant to your students’ daily lives. So, grab students’ attention to ensure students commit to the concept for their long-term memory.
Practice to improve brain memory
Your brain can memorize a certain amount of information, but it’s not the best way to learn. In fact, memory is quite malleable, and every time learners review their educational content, they have higher chances of retaining information. However, students are less likely to recall some of what they learned if they don’t review them.
Instead of assuming that information is preserved once students acquire new ideas, instructors should ensure they use effective learning strategies that continually improve their students. Know that memory and retention are enhanced through practice.
Here is what you can do to help improve your student practice memory:
Encourage students’ talk time. Of course, listening is critical to students’ success, but still, teachers must give their students the chance to express themselves. So, give your students some talk time to help them internalize and process what they have covered or learned.
The best way to encourage talk time is by asking students questions after or during class time and giving them some period to provide answers. Also, promote project based-learning that promotes student practice and improves their skills. So, please have a few individuals summarize their group's main points and discuss and present them to the entire class.
Cultivate on repetition. Hearing content for enough time is a way to get it to stick in your brain. Therefore, teachers should repeat some of the ideas, new information or content more often. You can use a familiar tune in replicating some of the concepts you want the students to remember.
Create a positive environment
Any threatening environment can impair your students' understanding and kill their brain retention. So, teachers must strive to make their students physically and emotionally feel safe.
Therefore, create a positive and welcoming environment where learners feel encouraged and supported. So, ensure to welcome your students every day and encourage them to participate and stimulate their brain center by using humor and storytelling, among other classroom welcoming techniques.
Students need to experience practical learning that is fun, content-wise and promotes their retention. You can achieve these by developing proper brain-based learning strategies that provide more meaningful learning.