Sunday, February 23, 2014

Applicaitons of Brain-Based Learning

The Principals of Brain Based Learning and how I can apply them in the classroom (“The Twelve Principals”):
  • Principle One: The brain is a parallel processor
    • The brain is continually receiving stimuli from multiple inputs and then processing that information in different areas of the brain. If teachers can take advantage of this, learning will be maximized (“The Twelve Principals”).
    • Information should be presented using all of a students senses. The student should then be provided adequate time to process this information and come up with a hypothesis and test it. They should be given the opportunity to do this using a variety of modalities (Zull)
  • Principle Two: Learning engages the entire physiology
    • Learning does not automatically happen just because a student is in a classroom with a teacher. The teacher needs to keep in mind what students are experiencing physiologically and make adjustments accordingly.
  • Principle Three: The search for meaning is innate
    • Students need to be provided with real life connections to what they are learning in order for those things to stick. It is a natural function of the brain to search for meaning (“The Twelve Principals”)
    • When planning a lesson for students use technology to help students make those personal connections. If you are teaching about geography have the students use Google Maps to explore exactly where and how we fit in the world. Making these connections will develop deeper understanding.
  • Principle Four: The search for meaning occurs through “patterning"
    • The brain works in a way of taking new information and seeing where it fits within what we already know (Hardiman).
    • When teaching a new topic instead of starting with one small chunk present the bigger picture first. That way when students are presented with the smaller information that have a place to process it and make connections to it (Hardiman). 
  • Principle Five: Emotions are critical to patterning
    • Emotions are interconnected with the student’s peers. It is important for students to make social connection, but these connections need to be deliberate to facilitate learning (“The Twelve Principals”)
    • Assigning students to groups that consist of peers that enrich other students weaknesses and strengths can be invaluable.
  • Principle Six: Every brain simultaneously perceives and creates parts and wholes
    • Both sides of the brain should be engaged with learning (“The Twelve Principals”).
    • Lessons should be presented in multiple ways so that the brain has the opportunity to evaluate the parts and the whole using both side of the brain. For example, lessons should incorporate science and analytical information in combination with an art activity.
  • Principle Seven: Learning involves both focused attention and peripheral perception
    • The learning environment has a huge impact on learning. The brain receives about 90% of its sensory input from visual stimuli. It has been shown through research that children in bland and unchanging environments do not learn as well. (Hardiman)
    • The classroom should incorporate a visually stimulating environment to assist with peripheral perception. Bulletin Boards should be utilized and changed frequently to display relevant learning information. By utilizing the wall space in the classroom in this way it reinforces what it being taught using the students focused attention.
  • Principle Eight: Learning always involves conscious and unconscious processes
    • Unconscious learning may not be apparent immediately. The brain uses all of the information received to put the pieces together, but the bigger picture may not be understood immediately.
    • Every time a topic is reviewed in the classroom it can change the way the student originally stored the memory. Therefore frequent review should be utilized to help bring to the surface the unconscious processing of information (Jensen).
  • Principle Nine: We have at least two types of memory -- a spatial memory system and a set of systems for rote learning
    • Spatial memory is for instant memory of experiences. It does not need to be reviewed to be processed. The Taxon memory is based more on memorization. This system can be easily stressed because of the limited number of brain cells involved with this system(“The Twelve Principals”).
    • Teaching should be done in small sections and then students should be given he opportunity to rest and process. Depending on how new the information is to the student lessons should not last longer that 15min for there is risk for information not to be retained (Jensen).
  • Principle Ten: The brain understands and remembers best when facts and skills are embedded in natural spatial memory
    • For maximized learning information should not simply be presented as note taking or lectures (“The Twelve Principals”).
    • According to Dr. Hardiman “By providing students with multiple ways to manipulate content, skills, and concepts, teachers are not only promoting long-term memory but are providing the opportunity to differentiate instruction based on students’ emotional needs, academic goals, and cognitive learning styles.”
    • This is a great way to involve technology into learning. If students are able to interact with an application or a game and still be presented with the same information they might normally get through lecture they are more likely to process it in a way that will stick. iPads are a great way to do this!
  • Principle Eleven: Learning is enhanced by challenge and inhibited by threat
    • Lower stress environments are shown to increase learning as it allows cortisol level to lower. Safe zones are ideal for learning (“The Twelve Principals”)
    • One way to reduce stress is to incorporate movement in the classroom. Allow the student to select the physical activity. Movement increases the good hormones in the brain and opens the student up for maximum learning (Jensen)
    • Music can also be used to lower stress and create a positive working environment; a place for happy emotions.
    • Education on coping skills can also provide students with the tools they need to excel in the classroom (Jensen)
  • Principle Twelve: Each brain is unique
    • It has been proven time and time again that all students have different ways of learning and processing information (Jensen).
    • The teacher should not expect all students to be at the same level at the same time. The classroom should create an environment that celebrates these differences and encourages students to work with each other based on their strengths and weaknesses (Jensen).
    • If a classroom in arranged in a way that uniqueness is not accepted that will just create an environment of stress which we know is not an appropriate environment for learning!
Brain based learning touches every aspect of a classroom, from the way it is decorated, to how material is presented. It is imperative that this information is taken into consideration so that we provide our students with the best opportunities to excel and learn to the best of their abilities.

Hardiman, Mariale. “The Brain Targeted Teaching Model” Johns Hopkins School of Educaiton. Retrieved 23 Feb 2014 <>
Jensen, Eric. “What is Brain Based Learning?: Brain-Based Education is the purposeful engagement of strategies that apply to how our brain works in the context of education.” Florida Educaiton Association. Retrieved 23 Feb 2014 <>
“The Twelve Principals for Brain-Based Learning” The Talking Page Literacy Organizaiton. Retrieved 23 Feb 2014 <>
Zull, James. The Art of Changing The Brain: Enriching The Prcatice of Teaching By Exploring The Biology of Learning.  Sterling, Viginia: Stylus, 2002. Print.

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