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How the Brain Learns It don’t mean a thing if you… can’t remember it don’t make sense don’t focus or don’t care.

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Presentation on theme: "How the Brain Learns It don’t mean a thing if you… can’t remember it don’t make sense don’t focus or don’t care."— Presentation transcript:

1 How the Brain Learns It don’t mean a thing if you… can’t remember it don’t make sense don’t focus or don’t care

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3 How the Brain Learns Practice Experimentation Watching/Listening Connecting Reflecting Social construction Meaning making

4 Exterior Parts of the Brain Frontal Lobes – planning & thinking Temporal Lobe – sound, speech, LTM Occipital – visual processing Parietal lobe – orientation, calculations

5 Interior Parts of the Brain Limbic System – generation of emotions Thalamus – processes sensory stimuli – except smell Hippocampus – checks info in working memory to stored experiences

6 Cerebrum Thinking, memory, speech and muscular movement are controlled by areas in the cerebrum. Frontal Lobe – Monitors: – Higher Order thinking – Directing Problem Solving – Regulating excesses of the emotional system

7 The Brain Limbic System – generation of emotions Thalamus – directs sensory information to other parts of the brain. (except smell) Hippocampus – constantly checks info relayed to working memory & compares to stored experiences. (essential for creating meaning.) Amygdala – plays an important part in emotions – especially fear.

8 Logical Analytical Fact Based Qualitative Holistic Intuitive Integrating Synthesizing Organized Sequential Planned Detailed Interpersonal Emotional Kinesthetic Feeling Based Limbic Mode Cerebral Mode LEFTMODEVERBALLEFTMODEVERBAL R I G H T M O D E Non V E R B A L

9 Brain Transmissions Neurons transmit impulses along an axon and across the synapse to the dendrites of the neighboring cell

10 1,000,000,000,000,000 synapses Learning occurs by changing the synapses so that the influence of one neuron on another also changes. The more complex the skills demanded in an occupation, the more dendrites were found on the neurons – creates more sites in which to store learnings

11 How the Brain Learns Connections the brain finds useful become permanent; those not useful are eliminated as the brain selectively strengthens and prunes connections based on experience. What are the implications for teaching?

12 Effective Teaching Requires: – Planning – Essential elements of effective instruction – Competent teacher – Constant stream of decisions – Students actively engaged – Compatibility to how students learn

13 The Brain is a novelty seeker The brain has a persistent interest in novelty. An environment that contains mostly predictable stimuli lowers the brain’s interest

14 Using Novelty in Lessons Humor Movement – get the blood flowing Multi-sensory Instruction – interesting colorful visuals - & talk about their learning Quiz Games – helps students rehearse – adds repetitions for long term memory Music – helps motivate and helps memory

15 Information Processing Model Learning Storing Remembering – Are all dynamic and interactive processes

16 Information Processing Model It limits its scope to the major cerebral operations that deal with: – Collecting – Evaluating – Storing – Retrieving information – The parts that are most useful to educators

17 Information Processing Model Sight Hearing Touch Smell Taste Immed Memory Working Memory Sense & Meaning Sensory Register out Long Term storage Self Concept Past Experiences Cognitive Belief System

18 Memory Short term memory: – All of the early steps of temporary memory that lead to stable long term memory Immediate Memory – holds data for 30 seconds Working Memory – limited capacity – conscious activity – captures our focus and demands our attention – occurs in the frontal lobes

19 Working Memory Capacity – varies with age 5 years or younger –2 items + or - 1 Between 5 - 145 items + or - 2 14 and older7 items + or - 2 The limited capacity explains why we need to memorize a song or poem in stages – increase capacity through “chunking”. How can this relate to learning new vocabulary words?

20 Working Memory Time Limits – Age dependent Pre-adolescents – 5 – 10 minutes Adolescents & Adults – 10 – 20 minutes Fatigue or boredom sets in resulting in a loss of focus - unless a change in the way the individual is dealing with an item.

21 Data Affecting Survival Data Generating Emotions Data for new learning WORKINGMEMORYWORKINGMEMORY Priorities for Working Memory

22 Criteria for Long term Storage We cannot recall what we have not stored Emotional experiences have a high probability of being permanently stored Does it make sense? ( oh now I see ) – Learner can understand based upon experience Does it have meaning? ( how will I use it ) – Is the item relevant

23 Sense & Meaning Sense and Meaning are independent of each other When new learning is comprehensible (sense) and can be connected to past experiences (meaning) – retention is dramatically improved.

24 Sense & Meaning Students often listen to things that make sense but lack meaning. – If they do not find meaning after the learning episode – there is little likelihood of long term storage – Teachers often wonder why students forgot the lesson – (meaning – relevance must be clear) ie. Learn it because its on the test

25 Sense & Meaning Past experiences always influence new learning. Teachers spend about 90% of their planning time devising lessons so that students will understand the objective (sense) – they need to be more mindful of helping students establish meaning. Integrating the curriculum increases meaning and retention Teachers must understand the intent of the standards

26 Moderate To High Very Low Very High Moderate To High MEANING PRESENT?MEANING PRESENT? Sense Present ? Probability of being Stored in Memory

27 Retention Research has shown that: – The greatest loss of newly acquired information or a skill occurs within 18 – 24 hours If a learner cannot recall information within 24 hours – there is a high probability that it was not permanently stored

28 Self Concept Continuum – very low to very high Emotions play an important part in forming a person’s self concept. People will participate in learning activities that have yielded success for them and avoid those that have produced failure

29 Self Concept Accepting or Rejecting New Learning People will participate in learning activities that have yielded success for them. They will avoid those that have produced failure.

30 Self Concept Hierarchy of Data Processing: – When a concept struggles with an emotion, the emotion almost always wins! – It is possible for the rational system (frontal lobe) to override emotions – but that takes time and conscious effort.

31 Self Concept The learner must believe that participating in the learning situation will produce new successes rather than repeat past failures. A teacher teaches children, not merely content. It is vital to create the conditions for success – educational & human relations skills (intentionally maximizing success)

32 Self Concept The self concept is important in controlling the feedback loop and determining how the individual will respond to almost any new learning situation. What are the implications for instruction?

33 Computer Model - Comparison Brain performs more slowly – It takes time for the nerve impulse to travel along the axon – The brain’s working memory is limited – Emotions play an important role in human processing and creativity. – The ideas generated by the brain often come from images. – The brain changes its own properties as a result of experience

34 Constructivism Students are more likely to gain greater understanding of and derive greater pleasure from learning when allowed to transform the learning into creative thoughts and products. (learning on a continuum, direct instruction provides a foundation, inquiry or constructivism, cooperative learning can take the learning to new and creative levels)

35 How the Brain Learns – Why it is Important? When do students remember best in a learning episode? How can I help students understand and remember more of what I teach? Why is focus so important, and why is it so difficult to get? How can humor and music help the teaching learning process? How can I get students to find meaning in what they are learning? Why is transfer such a powerful principle of learning, and how can it destroy a lesson without my realizing it?

36 How the Brain Learns – Physical aspects associated with learning How the brain processes information Memory – Retention & Learning The power of Transfer Brain Specialization and Learning The Brain and the Arts Thinking Skills and Learning

37 Instructional Approaches Direct Instruction Cooperative Learning Interdisciplinary Units Integrated Thematic Units

38 Using Humor to Enhance Learning Gets Attention Creates a positive Climate Increases retention – Emotions enhance retention – Positive feelings from laughter increase probability of retention – It is an effective discipline tool – No teasing or sarcasm

39 Increase processing time through motivation Generate Interest – powerful motivator Establish Accountability Provide Feedback – Prompt – Specific – Corrective Level of Concern

40 Increase processing time through motivation Level of Concern – Provide consequences – Visibility & Proximity – Varying the amount of time allotted to complete a task – Varying the amount of help or support available.

41 Creating Meaning in new Learning Modeling – Accurately & unambiguously highlight the critical attributes – Teacher presents first to ensure students get it correct during this prime time when retention is the highest. – Avoid controversial issues that evoke strong emotions that can redirect the learner’s attention – Emotions can shut out rational thought

42 Creating Meaning in new Learning Using examples from students’ experience – Brings prior knowledge into working memory which promotes making sense and attaching meaning. – It is important that the examples are clearly relevant to the new learning – should be planned in advance.

43 Creating Meaning in New Learning Creating artificial Meaning – Mnemonic Devices Homes – Great Lakes Roy G Biv – red, green, blue FACE Man Very Early Made Jump Suits Using New Plastics

44 Using Closure to Enhance Sense & Meaning It is during closure that a student often completes the rehearsal process and attaches sense and meaning to the new learning. Closure is different from Review – The student does most of the work by mentally rehearsing and summarizing the concepts and deciding whether they make sense and have meaning.

45 Using Closure to Enhance Sense & Meaning Closure is an investment that can pay off dramatically in increased retention of learning. Closure is one of the most under used elements of effective instruction.

46 Using Closure to Enhance Sense & Meaning Closure can occur at various times: – It can start a lesson – think about two causes of WWII that we studied yesterday and be prepared to discuss them…. – It can occur during a lesson – Complete this problem on area before we move on to finding the volume… – It should also take place at the end – to tie the entire lesson together…


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