Educators often face students’ inattention and indifference, see that young people do not want to come to a class, make any efforts to gain knowledge, listen to lecturer’s explanations, and perform academic assignments. Of course, such attitude lowers teachers’ enthusiasm, makes them doubt whether their profession choice was correct. As a result, they approach academic routine as a way to earn money rather than a noble vocation.
Do you know how it feels? It is worth not getting upset. Neuroscience may be a solution. There are many teaching strategies which may make learners’ brains work and absorb information passionately.
Some teachers perceive neuroscience as an abstraction and believe that the only thing which may make students work is coercion. But these specialists are wrong. Strict control and low marks turn young people into prisoners of the academic system. At the same time, brain-targeted education may awaken their enthusiasm, boost attention and memory, offer many exciting and engaging activities, radically change the way how people teach and learn.
Dr. Mariale Hardiman, professor at Johns Hopkins, has developed a strategy helping educators to use neuroscience and lead students to better results. Guidelines mainly explain how learning space and course materials should be organized.
In this article, experts from Pro-Papers have outlined the 6 targets to teach the way the brain learns. This instruction would be extremely useful for educators who want to practice neuroscientific approaches in the classroom.
1. Create an emotional atmosphere
Some people believe that a brain is a calculator able to make decisions without emotions’ impact. Agree, our life would be much easier if this would be true. But everything is somewhat different. In fact, all our steps are dictated by feelings. We do not notice this, but amygdala (an area in a brain responsible for emotional state) receives signals earlier than the cortex (a part of a brain responsible for thinking).
Therefore, it is crucial to create an atmosphere which would help learners to relax and experience positive emotions. Worries and stress impede productive education, so teachers intimidating students should not expect any improvements. It is better to greet young people friendly when they come to a class, establish eye contact, and spend a few minutes on a conversation before getting to work.
2. Organize a physical space
A classroom should be equipped with everything that is needed to let students feel comfortable. It is worth making sure there is proper lighting, furniture suitable for learners’ height, no background noise which may distract young people from their studies.
Changes stimulate brain activity. Replace tables from time to time, use wall displays with interesting images, come up with different lighting combinations, or even hold lessons in parks and libraries. Your educational space should not be dull and gray.
3. Design learning experience
Professors should provide information in such a way that new knowledge is tied to the old one. Education seems to a chain consisting of many interconnected links. If one of these links breaks or is absent, a whole system would not work. Each topic should be studied with some background, a big picture, in the context of a discipline to which it belongs. For example, there is no sense to teach a person to use a computer if one does not know what a computer is.
4. Teach for mastery
In order for information to be transmitted from short-term memory to long-term memory, it should be comprehended and strengthened in practice. When students deepen into work and not just absorb new knowledge passively, a brain works much better. In addition, engaging activities increase learning enthusiasm, attach importance to everything that young people do.
5. Teach for extension
Learning efficiency grows when a person has repeated sensory experience. New neural connections emerge and work as stable patterns. This is the reason why many teachers do not want to replace note-taking by distributing printed course materials in the class. Words are imprinted in memory when a person writes by hand.
The same applies to experiments. It is easy to watch a YouTube video showing how some things are done. By doing these things on your own promotes much better educational effect. It is useful for students to boost decision-making skills, consider real-life cases and hypothetical problems.
6. Evaluate learning
It is challenging for young people to understand that they do not know something until the exam date. That is why there should be many intermediate assessments allowing to find mistakes and eliminate knowledge gaps.
For example, studying each topic may be finished with testing. Learners studying well are motivated by high marks, get the impetus to work hard and reach new academic heights. Professors may provide feedback in the form of an oral consultation. It is great if each student has a mentor.
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