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Brain Research and Education

Ameina

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.

Comments (211)

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6th Grade Special Education Teacher, NJ

Hi Michelle and All- I agree

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Hi Michelle and All-
I agree with your point about there being so much research out there today and being about to truly identify what is factual and realistic. There are a few teachers at my school, where they are very eager "to jump on many wagons" of brain based research methods. I admire them for doing so, but again I find it hard to sort through what is factual and realistic.

Everyone is making some

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Everyone is making some really good points about brain research. I felt like some of the research supported what I am already doing in my classroom. Does anyone else feel that way?

Special Education Teacher 4/5

Fast Forward information

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www.scilearn.com
After reading the same article and searching around I found the website for the Fast Forward Reading Program. The website sites some well known brain researchers and it looks like a computer program with many levels. It also has a demo or each level. I checked it out. Pretty intersting.

Jennifer, I know what you

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Jennifer, I know what you mean. It seems the more we learn about brain research the more we validate what we are already doing in the classroom intuitivly with our students. I do agree with earlier postings in desiring that teacher education programs include a course on the brain and its role in education. This would go a long way in helping us understand the nuances involved in learning.

1st grade teacher from Barstow, California

Having read the same or

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Having read the same or similar article, Addressing Literacy Through Neuroscience,I was also intrigued by the FastForWard program, which according to one study, has had dramatic improvements on test scores from the participants(dyslexic students). I have never heard of this program in my District and I would like more information on its effectiveness for learning language and reading skills.

Quantum Learning

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Thanks to Rosa Maria for including the website fo Quantum Learning. Fascinating!

Some good questions have been

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Some good questions have been raised by everyone, particularly the role that brain-based research should play in our teaching. For myself, personally, I think that the ideas that the articles we've read make good common sense. I do believe the brain can be retrained and I do believe that we as teachers can have a powerful and positive impact on students with processing disorders if we just understand how their minds work. I've been working with a handful of students for a couple of years now who have gone through Linda Mood Bell training with a dyslexia specialist, which is a multisensory brain retraining, and have seen it work wonders.

As far as the concern that research changes so quickly and that it is hard to sort through what is factual and what is not, I can only offer my own classroom observation. That is that every child is different and as our reading asserts, every brain is different and is constantly changing. What works for one child won't necessarily work for another. What research proves (or disproves) for the majority may not work (or be a huge success) for the minority. The dyslexic specialist that I work with has a "whatever it takes" attitude. She starts with what experience and research tells her will work, but she rarely ends up where she thinks she will in terms of methods or activities. She tweaks, retries, comes at things from a new direction until she figures out what gets a student's brain to make a connection that sticks.

So maybe we need to consider brain-based techniques a tool, rather than a philosophy, and approach this sort of learning like Thomas Edison might have. Try it, see what works, and learn as much from the failures as you do from the successes.

teacher

I read the same articles that

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I read the same articles that many of you read. I wonder f they allowed teachers to use the fast forward program. How time cosuming is it and would it really benefit teachers. I agree that teachers should know a how the brain process information to help us give information that the students can use. But I am concerned that it will be the new fad with lots of expensive equipment that will be in storage.

Special Education Teacher

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Like Maureen and Sally, I also think that brain based learning is interesting, but we also need to be extremely careful in the directions that this particular area of study may take us. Personally, I really find that differentiated instruction pretty much meets most of the needs of not only my students, but all students in general. DI has many of the same strategies of brain based learning and it would not surprise me if it was used as a spring board.As some of you have stated, I don't rely entirely on one specific form of instruction. I often times take bits and pieces of different learning strategies and adapt to meet the needs of my students.

Carly - You make an

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Carly -
You make an interesting point. I think that differentiated instruction was designed with how the brain works as its premise.

I also agree that as more brain research findings become available, the more I am validated in my teaching. The combination of our own expertise and differentiation provide students with various ways to learn. This then coincides with the research recommending that teachers become more familiar with the brain and the intelligences that students possess. I have to believe that most educators are already on the right page and continuing in the right direction.

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