Brain based research

Fun facts for teaching straight from my Differentiation course.  What I love about this is that it is research around how the brain is wired to learn!  Here are some quick things to consider:

  • The human brain is constantly searching for meaning and seeks patterns and connections.  So, authentic learning (first hand experiences) situations increase the brain’s ability to make connections and retain new information!
  • Brain compatible classrooms maintain a safe and secure climate to inhibit their learners from feeling threatened, intimidated, and going into fight or flight mode.  The brain will try to focus on survival rather than on learning and processing new information.    Predictable routines, positive reinforcement, collaboration and think time are all strategies in support of helping kids and their brains feel safe.  Try giving praise to the students who are following the expectations: ie. I like the way Sara is sitting pretzel legged and popcorn hands, let’s see who else looks like that?
  • Opportunities for collaboration, reflection and active processing are key to filing new information into long-term memory.  Experience may trigger brain growth and development, but they are not hard wired until the learner has had multiple opportunities to process information.
  • As the brain works to build understanding and a pattern for how things work, it needs accurate and timely feedback to strengthen memory and connection.  Without immediate feedback, the brain may actually wire an incorrect pattern for doing something.  As I reflected on this, I made a connection to my guided reading groups and know that it is my job when a child is finished reading, give them a compliment on using a strategy that helped them (not-intimidating validation) and then inspire them to try that in a different part of the story where it was tricky (activation)!  If you try this out, let me know what you think:)

from Teachers, Change Your Bait! by Martha Kaufeldt

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