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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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Karrie Willard's picture

You might be interested in going to Several of our teachers at my school here in Atlanta, Georgia are trained in this program by a neuropsychologist. She uses brain functioning research to train teachers to work more effectively with students. Good luck!

Sarah Ferrians's picture

I feel that brain research is just another aspect to take into consideration as we create lessons and develop effective teaching strategies. I do not feel that we should use it as our sole basis for what we do in the classroom. As educators we should stayed informed of new research studies that are being published on the brain as well as other subject areas.

Kristina's picture

One thing that I found very interesting when reading the articles on brain research was that so much of the things we know about the brain are things that we as teachers do already. One of the articles mentioned that experience is necessary for children to learn. Children can hear what you say but they do not always understand what you mean if they have never experienced something for themselves. Case in point, about a month ago I had a unit to teach on farms. We read a story called All That Corn which discussed how popcorn was made. The children heard me and could answer questions, but it was not until I brought in a 6 foot tall corn stalk with the corn still attached that they understood what all of those thngs were. Experience really does make the lessons become alive to children.

Diane G.'s picture

I feel like brain based research is a useful, insightful tool that enables us to fully understand how people best learn. I think that the risk of this becoming a fad depends on us professionals; if we use the research in a way that aids our teaching it is sure to benefit our students. However if it is a subject matter that we briefly dabble in and don't become acquainted with I feel that it would just become another trend in education that swings like a pendulum. I find it very interesting that we can more deeply understand the workings of such an intricate object-our own brains!

Amanda W's picture
Amanda W
Teacher in rural Georgia

Ameina, I read the same article that you read. It states that some reports made by the media is sometimes sent out as misinformation. Has anybody tried any of the applications suggested by the brain research? Does brain research really help educators in deciding how to educate students? What evidence do you have?

Lori H.'s picture
Lori H.
7th Grade ELA Teacher

I agree with Maureen regarding the many theories about the brain. In reading the articles for my Master's class, I found it interesting to note that Paula Tallal is mentioned by Dr. Wolfe in her article called, "Brain Research and Education: Fad or Foundation?" Paula Tallah co-authored the first article that I read on this subject. Both articles refer to the computer program "Fast Forward" as a means to help speed up language processing.Paula Tallah actually helped to develop this program. I know that there are beneficial computer programs around, but sometimes I am a little skeptical about these programs. I realize that they are addressing a program for specific needs, but I think we have to be careful about how much reliance we give computer programs. My school system insists that our students are benefiting from a certain computer program, but I haven't seen a great differnce in my students.

Amanda W's picture
Amanda W
Teacher in rural Georgia

Rosa Maria and Kim both agree that the Quantum Learning training gave them new ideas and strategis that was helpful to their students. I teach fourth grade mathematics. What is one specific strategy that you learned and used with your students that was helpful? I am interested in the training and would like to know more about it.

Amanda W's picture
Amanda W
Teacher in rural Georgia

Lori, my school uses quite a few computer based programs. We use a program called Math in a Flash. It helps students learn basic math facts. From my experience, many students that have not mastered basic math facts stuggle with other math skills. I really believe this program has made a difference in math for our students.

Sara P's picture

I know that there are several teachers in my district that would enjoy using one of our inservice days to learn more about the brain. I realize that we structure our day to day lessons to accomodate the different learning styles but with the added background of brain research I think that it would enhance their learning experiences.

Tiffany's picture

I also have not heard of Quantum Learning until reading the comments on this blog. One system I have heard of is Fast Forward. This is a program used in our school, but I do not know much about it. I am interested to find out more about Quantum Learning and how to potentially connect that with my teaching.

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