Essential question: What is brain-based learning and how can it inform differentiation?
“Brain-based learning refers to teaching methods, lesson designs, and school programs that are based on the latest scientific research about how the brain learns, including such factors as cognitive development—how students learn differently as they age, grow, and mature socially, emotionally, and cognitively” (EdGlossary, 2013).
Brain-based learning is centered on the science of learning versus the notions of how we historically thought the learning process was. When educators fully understand the learning process, they can then streamline the process. According to Portland.edu, below are tips that can help teachers encourage brain-based learning by:
- Keeping diverse learners engaged (DI)
- Creating a richer learning environment
- Offer valuable feedback that can lead to deeper understanding
Educators must keep all levels of students engaged, meaning allowing for Differentiated Instruction. They must stride to create lesson plans with real world material. Also include a feedback session where further discussion can happen to allow for a deeper understanding of the classroom topics.
Jensen further supports these tips in the following statement: “Brain-based education is best understood in three words: engagement, strategies and principles. You must engage your learners and do it with strategies that are based on real science.”
Principle to Strategies for Brain-Based Learning (Jensen, 2013):
- Physical education, recess and movement are critical to learning
- Social conditions influence our brain in multiple ways we never knew before.
- All educators should know the brain can and does change every day.
- Chronic stress is a very real issue at schools for both staff and students
- Schools are pushing differentiation as a strategy to deal with the differences in learners.
- New evidence suggests the value of teaching content in even smaller chunk sizes.
- The role of the arts in schools continues to be under great scrutiny.
- Humans have the remarkable capacity to display many emotions, but only six of them are “hard wired,” or built in at birth.
- There have been stunning strides in rehabilitation of brain-based disorders, including Asperger’s, learning delays, dyslexia and autism.
- The recent brain/mind discovery that even memories are not fixed but, instead, are quite malleable is powerful.
The above strategies from Jensen inspire brain-based learning. Breaks like recess are necessary for any students. Younger students are able to get out some unused energy during their breaks which can help with refocus again later in the classroom. I have always thought that the social aspect is so important for students. The social side is like the undocumented lesson plan on how well we are able to develop relationship unscripted. When we are able to self cope and find a place in class where we feel we belong, that environment encourages brain-based learning and other life lessons. Teachers should know that students brains change daily and stress is a factor for everyone. Small group sizes allow for more social interaction and have positive impacts. I love that we have more developments from research of a variety of learning disabilities and the strategies to cope with them.
Below is a link to Edutopia videos on brain-based learning:
Jensen, Eric. Teaching with Poverty in Mind : What Being Poor Does to Kids’ Brains and What Schools Can Do About It. Alexandria, VA, USA: Association for Supervision & Curriculum Development (ASCD), 2009. ProQuest ebrary. Web. 5 April 2015. Retrieved from: http://egandb.uas.alaska.edu:2051/login.aspx?direct=true&db=nlebk&AN=301969&site=ehost-live
Jensen, Eric. (N.d). 6 Quick Brain-Based Teaching Strategies. Retrieved on March 8, 2017 from: http://www.jensenlearning.com/news/6-quick-brain-based-teaching-strategies/brain-based-teaching
Great Schools Partnership. (2013, Aug 29). Brain-based Learning. Retrieved on March 8, 2017 from: http://edglossary.org/brain-based-learning/
Jensen, Eric. (N.d). What is Brain-Based Learning? Retrieved on March 8, 2017 from: https://feaweb.org/brain-based-learning-strategies
Staff. (2012, Oct 24). Explanation of Brain Based Learning. Retrieved on March 8, 2017 from: http://education.cu-portland.edu/blog/curriculum-instruction/brain-based-learning-explained/