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Brain compatible learning. How can we keep World Language learners hooked?. Hook’em !. Food for thought. What are some activities you do to get them hooked at the start of a lesson? What happens later on in the lesson? Why do we need to keep them hooked?.

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brain compatible learning
Brain compatible learning

How can we keep World Language learners hooked?

food for thought
Food for thought
  • What are some activities you do to get them hooked at the start of a lesson?
  • What happens later on in the lesson?
  • Why do we need to keep them hooked?
  • How are we going to HOOK the students with special needs who will now be a major part of our classroom communities?
the brain
The BRain

The teenage brain is wired differently than the adult brain.

It is an emotional period in their development and emotions affect learning, memory and recall.

Think about a time when you have said to a young person who acted impulsively, “What were you thinking?” (The answer is: they weren’t!)

As messages enter the brain through the sensory receptors to the thalamus (central relay station) the information can get dumped on the way from the relay station to the frontal cortex (where learning takes place). The information is stopped in the amygdala where individual’s reactions with the environment are regulated. It is here that are focused the functions of emotion, survival, fight and flight. (“How the Brain Learns”, David A. Sousa, 2006)


How does this translate to learning in a World Language classroom and our current and future student population?

  • who are unmotivated
  • who have verbal disabilities
  • who find another language threatening
  • who require special accommodations
  • who come from challenging home situations


As a result of state graduation requirements, our future population will include students :

providing the optimal learning environment
Providing the optimal learning environment
  • Relaxed alertness (Caine model)
    • High challenge, high expectations
    • State of mind that combines confidence, competence and intrinsic motivation
  • Balance emotional climate in the classroom
    • Manage negative emotions
    • Encourage positive emotions such as joy and peace
  • Consideration of learning styles, wait time, choice and variety (Designing Brain-Compatible Learning, Gregory and Parry, 2005)
time to process or downtime

(Presenters turn…)

Time to process or “downtime”

1-One thing you do in class that creates a less stressful environment.

2-One thing you do to encourage challenge and high expectation for ALL students.

3-One thing you do to keep them HOOKED throughout the lesson.

Break up into pairs and discuss the three questions to the right…

(This is non-threatening and forces all students to participate.)

(Discussion with whole group. Present strategies in brief. )

hook em again
HOOK’EM again!

We know that as WL teachers we are already using many brain-compatible strategies, but there is always room for improvement.

Closure…Participants will answer/write:

What will you do differently as a result of what you have learned about Brain Compatible Learning?

Write one goal that addresses hooking the students.

Write a second goal that addresses creating an environment of relaxed alertness.


Presentation prepared by:

Heather Avilés

Patti Borus

Greg López

Suzanne López-Norling