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.

Mark PhillipsJanuary 31, 2012

A very important controversy related to children is flying under the radar of most educators. It's a controversy in which educator voices could play a highly constructive role.

Some background first. The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) is published by the American Psychiatric Association and provides a common language and standard criteria for the classification of mental disorders. It's used by mental health professionals, researchers, psychiatric drug regulation agencies, health insurance companies, pharmaceutical companies and policy makers. There have been a number of revisions since it was first published in 1952, and each revision has included more mental disorders.

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Judy Willis MDJanuary 16, 2012

Before information can be processed through executive functions, it must reach the prefrontal cortex (PFC), where higher order thinking occurs. The pathway to the PFC has potential roadblocks in the form of an information intake filter and an emotional switching station that determines if input reaches the PFC or is diverted to the lower, reactive brain. Embedding the arts into instruction and assessment promotes flow through these filters, builds growth mindset, and strengthens the actively developing executive functions.

Before information can be processed through executive functions, it must reach the prefrontal cortex (PFC), where higher order thinking occurs. The pathway to the PFC has potential roadblocks in the form of an information intake filter and an emotional switching station that determines if input reaches the PFC or is diverted to the lower, reactive brain. Embedding the arts into instruction and assessment promotes flow through these filters, builds growth mindset, and strengthens the actively developing executive functions. Read More

Randy TaranNovember 16, 2011

This seven part series, from the Project Happiness curriculum, explores the many facets of happiness and provides practical techniques to generate greater happiness and a more meaningful life -- from the inside.

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Judy Willis MDOctober 5, 2011

Updated 01/2014

For young brains to retain information, they need to apply it. Information learned by rote memorization will not enter the sturdy long-term neural networks in the pre-frontal cortex (PFC) unless students have the opportunity to actively recognize relationships to their prior knowledge and/or apply new learning to new situations.

Here are some teaching strategies to help build executive function in your students.

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Alina TugendSeptember 6, 2011

As the school doors swing open to welcome the start of another year, both teachers and students will have goals: to inspire a class, to learn new things, to get good grades.

What probably won't be on that list is to make a mistake -- in fact many. But it should be.

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Judy Willis MDSeptember 1, 2011

The High Cost of Over-Packed Curriculum Standards

For 21st century success, students will need skill sets far beyond those that are mandated in the densely packed standards -- and that's evaluated on bubble tests. In the near future, success will depend on accelerated rates of information acquisition. And we need to help students develop the skill sets to analyze new information as it becomes available, to flexibly adapt when facts are revised, and to be technologically fluent (as new technology becomes available). Success will also depend upon one's ability to collaborate and communicate with others on a global playing field -- with a balance of open-mindedness, foundational knowledge, and critical analysis skills so they can make complex decisions using new and changing information.

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Ben JohnsonSeptember 1, 2011

Memory is an interesting thing. At school we try so hard to get students to remember things, but some memories are indelibly imprinted without any effort at all. For example, I have a vivid memory of where I was and what I was doing on September 11, 2001. Everyone that I have asked also has a vivid memory of this tragic event. They can remember the other people in the room, and their reactions. They can remember colors, surroundings, and even sounds, as if they were using a video recording.

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Elena AguilarAugust 22, 2011

'Tis the season of professional development for many of us who work in schools. While PD can be meaningful, sometimes the experience feels like we were the unwilling recipients of an unpleasant procedure -- we were professionally developed; our descriptions employ the same tone, syntax, and non-verbal language as when describing a colonoscopy.

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Judy Willis MDJuly 11, 2011

As science and math are slated for more emphasis in our classrooms, writing should not be sacrificed. Indeed, in the past two decades, neuroscience and cognitive science research have provided increasing evidence that correlates creativity with academic, social, and emotional intelligence. Writing can help the brain to develop the logical functions required for successful math and science learning.

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Judy Willis MDJune 13, 2011

Understanding How the Brain Works

For 21st century success, now more than ever, students will need a skill set far beyond the current mandated standards that are evaluated on standardized tests. The qualifications for success in today's ever-changing world will demand the ability to think critically, communicate clearly, use continually changing technology, be culturally aware and adaptive, and possess the judgment and open-mindedness to make complex decisions based on accurate analysis of information. The most rewarding jobs of this century will be those that cannot be done by computers.

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