Monday, July 18, 2011

Brain Based Learning: Guideline One

Is this why I struggled in math?

Almost two years ago I introduced a series on brain based-learning. Brain-based learning is an educational theory. This theory puts forward that learning can be enhanced when teachers/parents understand the brain's functioning, and apply such knowledge when teaching.

The presentations in textbooks and websites differ concerning guidelines. In my previous exploration (I struggle to believe that was two years ago!) I wrote about principles. This series will focus on general guidelines presented by Dr. David A. Sousa.



The first guideline states: Learning engages the entire person (cognitive, affective, and psychomotor domains).

Before I continue, let me explain this teacher-talk. It isn't hard at all:

Cognitive: Relates to the ways a person learns, based on his experiences.

Affective: Relates to the ways people express feelings.

Psychomotor: Relates to a response dealing with physical and psychological parts.

The cognitive, affective, and psychomotor domains are activated at science fairs.


You probably apply this guideline when working with your children everyday. Math lessons are often thought not to consider the entire person, as are grammar lessons.

Here are some examples of ways to apply this guideline for different ages.

Preschool: Apples
  • Talk about different colors.
  • Taste the apple. Decide if you like it or not.
  • Feel the apple and describe its texture.
  • Cut it and look at the seeds.
Elementary: Planets
  • Read about the planets.
  • Look at a poster or pictures of the planets.
  • Make a model of the system. Let your child arrange them and hang them.
  • Examine different sizes and colors. 

Middle School: Magnets
  • Work with magnets (play with them).
  • Read about their positive and negative fields.
  • Look at their properties and definitions.
  • Examine ways magnets are used in life - like on construction sites.

High School: Reviewing a novel
  • Read portions aloud. Have students reread with you or listen.
  • Have students read reread portions alone.
  • Have students take notes on characters, symbols, or themes. (Give them something specific to map. Maybe use a graphic organizer).
  • Plot the story as you review. 
  • Write a paragraph relating the connection of the story to your child's life.
Like I always believe, parents typically engage their children in these types of activities. They are entertaining and students like them. New research shows us why students enjoy learning this way - they actually learn more and better!


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