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Using Brain Research in the Design of Adolescent Classroom Instruction The Organ: Parts to Whole Key Principles of Mindful Instruction Characteristics.

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Presentation on theme: "Using Brain Research in the Design of Adolescent Classroom Instruction The Organ: Parts to Whole Key Principles of Mindful Instruction Characteristics."— Presentation transcript:

1 Using Brain Research in the Design of Adolescent Classroom Instruction The Organ: Parts to Whole Key Principles of Mindful Instruction Characteristics of Brain-Compatible Classrooms Motivation, Learning, and Memory States

2 How comfortable are you with using brain research to design and facilitate your classroom instruction? 12341234

3 The Brain: Parts to Whole Lobes Function

4 Frontal Lobes Function: Motor functions Higher order functions Planning Reasoning Judgment Impulse control Memory Making Meaning: Optimism Pattern-making Contextual Problem-solving Reasoning

5 Parietal Lobes Function: Cognition Information processing Pain and touch sensation Spatial orientation Speech Visual perception Making meaning: Sensory Insights Inspiration and “ah-ha’s”

6 Temporal Lobes Function: Emotional responses Hearing Memory Speech Making Meaning: Relevance Links new information to the past, language, hearing, and speech

7 Occipital Lobes Function: Controls vision Perceives color Making Meaning: Vision Pattern- discovery Spatial relations

8 Cerebellum (“little brain”) Function: Regulation and coordination of movement, posture, and balance. Making Meaning: controls motion novelty

9 Brain Stem Function: Responsible for basic vital life functions such as breathing, heartbeat, and blood pressure

10 Making Meaning in the Areas of the Brain All areas of the brain share the responsibility for “felt” meaning, satisfaction, and pleasure. The brain experiences its most dramatic and important changes and developments during the first few years of life, the period of adolescence is a close second.

11 What does this have to do with my job and my students? Key Principles of Mindful Instruction What does this have to do with my job and my students?

12 The brain is highly adaptable. The human brain possesses many more potential connections than there are stars in the universe. Stimulating connections in the brain promotes retention of new information for future applications. Classroom implications: Students need to be given multiple avenues in which to make connections to information if they are to truly learn.

13 The brain is a natural pattern- seeker. The human brain seeks to create meaning for itself. No one can create meaning for someone else and our meaning cannot be imposed on others. Personal meaning is essential. Classroom Implications: Students need to be given the opportunity to make their own patterns of meaning with new information. Each student’s meaning is unique.

14 The brain is social. The human brain is wired to be social. Classroom Implications: Students need opportunities to be social during the learning process. Social interaction increases the chances of comprehension and retention of new information.

15 The search for meaning and connections is innate. The human brain must have multiple opportunities to interaction with material. Classroom Implications: If the teacher does all the interacting with the material then the teacher’s-not the student’s- brain will grow and make connections.

16 It takes both the left brain and the right brain to integrate learning. In order for the brain to get the “big picture” it needs both the global and the analytical view. The brain processes both the parts and wholes simultaneously. Classroom Implications: Students need to know “where they’re going” and “how they’re going to get there” in order to fully understand the trip.

17 States of being mediate learning. Emotions are biological functions of the nervous system and strongly influence attention and memory. Classroom Implications: Students’ emotions are real and important to their learning. Their emotions need to be acknowledged and respected.

18 Implicit influences drive explicit learning. Unconscious learning is survival-driven. We all know what it means to get “the look” but no one had to teach us the meaning. Classroom Implications: Students are constantly learning. Their primary instinct is to learn how to meet their basic needs, all other learning is naturally secondary.

19 Environment changes the brain. What students do as they interact with the classroom environment and information determines the physical structure of the brain. Classroom Implications: The student’s classroom environment plays a large role in the learning process, and their brain is constantly changing due to new and different connections.

20 Each brain is unique. Every student possesses different learning styles and prior knowledge. Classroom Implications: Students need to be exposed to a variety of strategies to engage and involve them in order to increase potential connections between previous knowledge and new knowledge.

21 Memory is malleable. New information, when associated with the five senses, is retained for a longer period of time. Classroom Implications: When students are exposed to sensory experiences they are provided with more stimulus input, thus increasing the likelihood that material will move into long-term memory.

22 Complex learning is enhanced by challenge and inhibited by threat. When the brain encounters perceived threats in the environment it’s capacities are minimized. Conversely, challenges and some degree of pressure enhance the brain’s potential. Threat is the number one block to learning (Jensen, 2000). Classroom Implications: Each student must have a healthy balance between threats and challenges to feel safe-each student’s balance will be unique. Safety = motivation = increased achievement

23 Classic De-motivators to Avoid in Your Classroom Failure of basic needs met Situations in which students feel stupid or embarrassed Infrequent or vague feedback = insufficient evidence of progress and success Sarcasm, put-downs, and criticism Exclusion from decisions regarding roles and standards Insufficient examples and models Insincere listening, recognition and praise

24 Classic De-motivators to Avoid in Your Classroom (cont.) Content and tasks that are perceived to be irrelevant, repetitive, not challenging, or beneath the learner’s ability Teaching practices that are mismatched or ineffective to the learners’ style and intelligence needs Reward systems and bribes Feelings of exclusion by other students Feelings of hopelessness by students (source: Rogers, Ludington, and Graham. Motivation and Learning, 1999)

25 What We Know Lobes of the brain and their functions The brains of our students are changing rapidly Key principles of mindful instruction and their classroom implications Safety is essential Given all this information what does a brain-compatible does a brain-compatible classroom look like?

26 Characteristics of a Brain- Compatible Classroom High support Low threat Positive expectations Multi-path input and storage Consistent pre-exposure Managed stress levels Moderate to high challenges Novelty and predictability Sufficient time for processing Complex, frequent feedback If these characteristics are present in the classroom student motivation will increase.

27 Quick Tips to Increase Motivation and Learning Light: natural light is best and promotes more positive emotional states Time: planned breaks and pauses allow for processing, reflection time reinforces connections Colors: blue is the easiest color for the eye to see, avoid using fire colors (red, orange, yellow) except for highlighting-they tend to raise anxiety and are hard to read at a distance, color code 10 -2 Rule: have students stand or do cross- laterals for 2 minutes every 10 minutes, increases blood flow (by 40%), alertness, energy, and motivation

28 Quick Tips to Increase Motivation and Learning (cont.) Mark: what is correct on a student’s paper and not what is incorrect, positive reinforcement Display: learners’ work, put eye level and below Positions: change seating with units, move chairs away from each other for assessments- eyes need to wander Feedback: increase it Outline: give students the steps necessary for success and the definition of success for each task

29 Quick Tips to Increase Motivation and Learning (cont.) Stand: at least every 20-30 minutes-preferably every 10 – 20, increases blood flow to the brain Celebrate: have students share their accomplishment for the day/period, what they learned, figured out, did well Respect: remove threats, acknowledgement of emotions, ownership, choice Relevance: real-life examples, opportunities to make connections Involvement: the person doing the interaction with the material is the person learning (sources include Jensen, Rogers, and Sousa)

30 Connections Between Learning & Memory Information Processing Model

31 Pathways to Memory Explicit SemanticEpisodic Implicit Memory ProceduralReflexive

32 Explicit SemanticEpisodic Words Pictures Facts Locations Circumstances Autobiographical weakest retrieval center Short-term memory lasts 5- 20 seconds until vanishing Processing or rehearsal is required for long-term memory contaminated quickly Sensitive to aromas The “where” triggers The “what” Pathways to Memory Right there, clear and obvious, you can touch it An occurrence, experience Meaning related to symbols (words, pics)

33 Implicit ProceduralReflective Body Motor Skills Involuntary Emotional Conditional Kinesthetic modality Part of survival Does not require conscious thought Deals with body and motor skills Activated by adrenaline (“Yikes” = pos. and/or neg.) and/or cortisol (“Uh-Oh” = neg.) Pathways to Memory Not stated but understoo d, Automatic responses associated with “states” Automatic responses associated with basic needs

34 Stimulus Explicit Implicit Semantic: words, symbols, videos, books, computers, facts, and figures Types of Memory Episodic: locations, events, personal circumstances Reflexive: Automatic, non-conscious learning, “just do it” Procedural: physical skills, manipulatives hands-on learning Flashbulb: A moment frozen in time due to emotions and the context of life experiences. Sensory Conditioning: Memory triggered by sensory cues, such as flash cards or repetition. Emotional: Intense emotions connected to individual trauma or pleasure.

35 Memory and Strategies Long-term memory Role play Mind mapping Rehearsal Mnemonic devices Videos Posters w/ key points sequencing Role play Hands-on learning Drama/skits Bodily/kinesthetic Step 1, Step 2 Journaling Think-pair-share Learn, review, and test in same location Change seating with each new unit Flash cards Sensory memory Decoding Rhyme/rhythm Repetition Practice Antonyms Matching Procedural Semantic Reflexive Episodic

36 States Have you ever: done something just because you felt like it? done something a little crazy and later admitted that you didn’t know what came over you? reminded yourself to “put on a good face” for a meeting?

37 What are states? States are the combination of the external and internal processes and influences that make all our decisions based on our emotional, cognitive, and physical interactions. States influence our motivation. We can pay attention to only one single state at a time. This doesn’t mean that we can’t experience more than one at a time but that the brain only acknowledges one at a time. Each state requires a trigger and set of activators (hormonal activity, physiological activity, and/or neurotransmitter activity). You cannot easily activate the behaviors of one state (thoughts, feelings, actions) if you are in another.

38 What does this have to do with students and learning? If you want to change the behaviors of students you must first change their state. New states create new attractors for memory, emotions, information, and behaviors. Green, Yellow, Red “There is no such thing as an unmotivated student. There are, however, students in unmotivated states.” ~Eric Jensen


40 Putting it all together... The physical makeup of the brain affects learning and retention. When the principles of mindful instruction are in place students are more successful. A brain-compatible classroom is one that recognizes the physical and emotional needs of the brain in relationship to learning. The bottom line: The bottom line: The more information we have on the changes that the brain goes through during adolescence the more equipped we are to design truly affective instruction.

41 Resources ml ml Secrets of the Teenage Brain: Research- Based Strategies for Reaching & Teaching Today's Adolescents, Sheryl G. Feinstein Brain-based Learning: The New Science of Teaching and Training, Eric P. Jensen How the Brain Learns, David A. Sousa

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