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WHAT WORKS IN EDUCATION The George Lucas Educational Foundation

Brain Research and Education

Brain Research and Education

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I was just reading an article on how it is important for teachers to know the structure and make up of the brain in order for us as teachers to better be able to adjust our teaching in order to benefit our students and help them to learn. It states that teachers should be aware of the two distictive types of memory (Precedural and Declarative). The article advises that teachers become familiar with the brain, its parts and its function. What I would like to hear is whether we teachers should rely solely on the parts of the brain to influence our teaching? Should we look to appeal to different parts to teach specific lessons? Should we now design a course at Teachers Colleges specifically related to the brain and its role in Education? Im looking forward to reading your comments.

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Ann Grimm's picture
Ann Grimm

To learn more about learning and the brain and how to use it in your classroom, check out the book "12 Brain/Mind Learning Principles in Action" by Renate Nummela Caine, Geoffrey Caine, Carol McClintic and Karl J. Klimek. This book covers how the brain learns, the essential elements for learning and useful teaching strategies.

Stan's picture

I am very intrigued by the current developments in neuroscience and how these have impacted the way we teach. I now see the connection between different approaches to pedagogy and the way various best practices affect the way our children learn and retain information. As a result of what I have read, I am convinced that the current paradigm as articulated in NCLB and agressively enforced by school systems across the country only address a small part of what we need to stimulate and enhance learning. Indeed, the demands of procedural retention requires a more project based approach- one that is sustained and not "squeezed in". And since the method prescribed is driven by what is conceived to be "proficient", should we not question the width and the depth and types of knowledge that we are required to present?

Cristina Bacon's picture
Cristina Bacon
Performance Learning Coach/ Bibb County School District

Great questions! I too think we should have more data to support the stragtegies that we use. If we had a course at our colleges that would share with us the brain anatomy and why what strategy works best for certain information. I think that would be termendously helpful. I do think we need to bring more science back into our "bacholar of sciene" degree. I think most people consider it an art and I can see why; however, there is science to back up why we as professionals do things.

Brent Schmidt's picture

The corporation I teach in has just invested in the brain research based program, fastforword. At first I was skeptical of the program. After almost 27 weeks of using it I am seeing results. My students seem to be better able to processwhat they hear and read. We plan to use the ISTEP tes as a benchmark for whether the program has had a postive impact on our stucents.

Kelly Harrison's picture

I believe I just got done reading the same article as you! To answer your question, I think that even though all this "great science research" is coming out to benefit teachers and students in the classroom, we can't solely rely on those studies to influence our teaching. I am very intrigued with the brain and its functions and to understand "why" students do and say the things they do. I would love to go to a conference of have a professional development day at my school district dedicated to understanding the brain better and ways of its influence in my classroom.

Donna S's picture

For the teachers out there using Fast ForWord, what kind of training were you given before implementation?

Jason's picture

Could someone give me a brief description of Fast ForWord? My district is in the process of using Read180. I believe this program is based on ideas from brain research. Has anyone used it? What do you think? I also would be interested in a class/seminar on brain research.

Dana Ryder's picture
Dana Ryder
6th grade special education teacher

I just watched a video on Fast ForWord and it looks wonderful. It would be an expensive investment with the computer software and training for teachers, but I sure am going to suggest it to my principal. Jason, google Fast Forword and you'll find a lot of info.

Dana Ryder's picture
Dana Ryder
6th grade special education teacher

I'm posing some questions in regard to collegial interaction. Who (whom?) of you out there have been on blog sites with other teachers for at least a year? Do you utilize several sites? How productive is blogging to you and to your teaching? Have you ever been able to bring a new idea to your principal and it becomes useful and/or part of a program? Just really curious... hope to see some responses...thanks.

traci's picture

I believe I read the same article as some of the people posting comments here. I found all of the information presented in the article extremely fascinating. Several of the articles I have read recently talk about the computer program Fast Forward. I am interested in finding out more about this program-it sounds like something my district could really use!

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