Sunday, February 7, 2010

Brain Based Learning: Core Principle 7

Tired of brain based learning? I hope not. This theory is throughout schools and with society's move toward healthier eating, this theory is always in the news. Let's look at the seventh of twelve principles:

Learning involves both focused attention and peripheral perception.

What this principle means is that what is in the background (the television, decorations on the wall, other people's conversations) influences the focused learning. Parents and teachers acknowledge this: when children do their homework, "turn off the TV!" So, sometimes this principle is a bit negative. Positively, surroundings can enhance a learning environment, or reinforce what you teach your children--think magnet letters on the fridge.

This principle relates to my kids in several ways. If I am reading to Ty and Za, that should be their focused attention. Sure, they will perceive other parts, but I have to balance it. If the television was on or I was talking on the phone, they of course will focus their attention elsewhere.

There are two big ways to use this with our children:
1) Have a rich and positive environment for learning. For instance, I painted shapes on the wall of the kids' main play area. (I just used scrap paint from other projects). You can find posters almost anywhere, or hang their artwork, letters or labeled pictures. This is why classrooms are normally filled with colorful material.

2) Eliminate noise and loud junk. It is hard for anyone to learn something new if his or her peripheral perception is fighting to be the focus attention.

Enjoy~find the right balance of focused attention and peripheral perception for your children.