Blogs on Brain-Based Learning

Brain-Based Learning

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Understand how the brain works and how educators and parents can improve the learning process.

Judy Willis MDOctober 9, 2013

This series of blogs is to support you and your students during the transition period that will come with the CCSS. As the new testing and teaching styles promote more student independence, student-constructed learning and project-based learning, students will benefit from a powerful boost to their growing neural networks of executive functions.

However, for students and educators accustomed to more structured plans and teacher- or curriculum-directed learning, the decision-making and uncertainty can increase the amygdala’s stress level and inhibit flow to the prefrontal cortex where those networks of executive function are developing. This blog series will offer suggestions to ease the stress of transition, helping students persevere to reach the intrinsic pleasure that awaits them through meaningful choice and challenges in the classroom.

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Judy Willis MDOctober 2, 2013

Public high school students in large U.S. cities are more likely to drop out than ever before. Almost 80 percent of the students report that the main problem is boredom. When asked what bores them most, the most frequent responses were that the course material is neither interesting nor relevant to their lives.

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Marilee SprengerSeptember 18, 2013

Teaching vocabulary within the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) is an essential component of standards-based curriculum alignment. Making the critical words second nature to our students will enhance achievement on assessments and will be useful in college and career. To process and store the academic vocabulary of the standards, our students’ brains require an efficient automatic memory system. This system, also called nonmotor procedural memory, stores information that is repeated, such as multiplication tables, song lyrics, words and definitions.

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Ramona PersaudJune 19, 2013

As schools everywhere begin to wind down on the school year, the worry around the summer brain drain begins. But just because school's out doesn't mean the learning process comes to a grinding halt. There are no hard stops on learning; in fact, there are numerous opportunities for learning in your daily activities.

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Ramona PersaudMay 23, 2013

Understanding even the basics of how the brain learns -- how people perceive, process and remember information -- can help teachers and students successfully meet the requirements of the Common Core State Standards (CCSS). This initiative aims to establish a relatively standardized knowledge base among all students, alleviating the background knowledge gap. It's designed to promote critical, divergent thinking, equipping students with information relevant to the real world and the ability to use it.

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Judy Willis MDMarch 11, 2013

Access to successful learning for all students is a powerful equalizer that drives superior educational outcomes. The importance of equal access is credited with much of the academic progress in Finland, a country without private schools or standardized tests. "Since the 1980s, the main driver of Finnish education policy has been the idea that every child should have the same opportunity to learn, regardless of family background, income or geographic location. Education has been seen first and foremost not as a way to produce star performers, but as an instrument to even out social inequality."1

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Shawn CornallyMarch 5, 2013

The frustrations teenagers experience with school are more a case of statistics and lack of experience than that of work ethic or "attitude" problems. These statistics are not tied to socioeconomic status, weight or time spent in a seat; they're genetic and experiential. We have a bell curve of abstraction and experience, and we're only beginning to think about how to honor that.

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Dana ReineckeJanuary 24, 2013

The challenges associated with autism are costly to the affected individuals, their families, and society. Individuals with autism face difficulties in communication and socialization, as well as increased risk of behavior problems that can severely impact their ability to participate in everyday activities.

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Douglas RushkoffJanuary 4, 2013

When I was a kid, the main reason my mom limited our television time was x-rays. Back in 1968, when I was seven years old, the same age my daughter is now, a big study on radioactive emissions from cathode ray tubes had just come out, and so our new color Philco had become the enemy. My brother and I had to watch A Charlie Brown Christmas and the NY Jets win the Super Bowl from 15 feet away, in the corner of the room diagonally opposite from the set.

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Elaine KennedyDecember 17, 2012

I took my handicapped dog of 15 years for a walk in the grass. Maddie has gone from not being able to walk on her hind legs (a neurological problem) to gradually being able to walk with an awkward, back-legs-don't-really-know-where-they're-landing gait. Let me relate Maddie’s experience to brain-compatible elements that my teachers implement at New Morning School every day.

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