Brain-Based Learning Research-Based Strategies To IGNITE Student Learning Judy Willis, M.D. Presented by Stephen Gilbreth
Memory, Learning, and Test Taking Skills • Brain Plasticity and Pruning • Multiple Stimulations • Educators- Memory enhancers • Learning promotes learning • Memory Circuits • Graphic Organizers • Syn-naps
Dendrites increase in size and number in response to learned skills, experience and information Dendrites grow as branches from frequently activated neurons Most of the neurons where information is stored are present at birth Dendrites sprout from the arms (axons) or cell body of the neuron Brain Plasticity
The growth of new dendrites is stimulated by proteins called neurotrophins Once formed, brain plasticity allows it to reshape, reorganize Violin players developing complex skills with their left hand have larger somatosensory regions in the area of the parietal lobe associated with the left hand Brain Plasticity cont.
A decrease in the connections of dendrites result in a pruning The elimination of connections cause the brain to prune inactive cells Much like pruning an errant shoot from a hedge Active cells require blood to bring nourishment and clear away waste Pruning
Inactive cells don’t send messages to the circulatory system to send blood Brain cells receive circulation not from blood as in the rest of the body, but rather a colorless, filtered form of blood called cerebral spinal fluid Pruning cont.
The reduced blood flow means calcium ions accumulate around cells and are not washed away The build up of calcium ions triggers the secretion of the enzyme calpain, which causes the cell to self-destruct Pruning cont.
The more ways information is presented, the more dendrites pathways of access will be created Offering information visually will set up connections with the occipital lobes (posterior lobes of the brain that process optical input) Multiple Stimulations
Students who hear information will hook up a dendritic circuit with the temporal lobe (on the side of the brain, processes auditory input) The more regions of the brain that store data about a subject the more interconnections The brain can cross- reference data Multiple Stimulations cont.
Memory: Rote, working (short-term), patterning and connections to relational, and ultimately long-term Rote: memorize most commonly used Working (short-term) keep for 20 minutes Recognizing patterns and connections- moves to long-term Educators - Memory Enhancers
Engaging in the process of learning actually increases one’s capacity to learn Each time students participate in an activity, a certain number of neurons are activated - Repetition, Follow-up…. Learning promotes learning
Follow-up or repetition causes the same neurons to respond The more times an activity is repeated, more dendrites sprout to connect new memories to old The brain becomes more efficient at recalling memories If memories come from different parts of the brain, recall is further enhanced, understanding is deeper Learning Promotes Learning cont.
Scientist can track which parts of the brain become active when a person processes information fMRI, functional magnetic resonance imaging fMRIs allow scientists to view the brain over time. A picture is shown to a subject, scientists can watch activity from area of the hippocampus, images show how well a visual experience was encoded Brain Mapping techniques
Some strategies suggested by neuroimaging are ones that have students personalize information thereby activating the part of the brain that help form memories Other strategies have students connect using as many senses as possible Visualize an electron orbiting the nucleus of an atom, mimic the buzz of electricity as it buzzes by, feel the negative charge by rubbing a balloon on ones arm Memory circuits
Brains are structured to remember novel events The ability to sense a cause and predict the effect (object falls from roof, move to avoid injury) Surprises bring a students brain to attention Demonstrations that get attention…or as easy as playing a song as they enter the room, or greeting them in costume Memory Circuits… Surprise
Enthusiasms in teacher’s voice as a new concept is introduced The goal is for students to actively discover, interpret, analyze, & process Think-Pair-Share Dend-Writes… novel approach to note-taking- sketch in notebook. What did I hear, see, smell? What did I learn? What surprised me? This reminded me of? Memory Circuits… Surprise cont.
A high school Chemistry teacher, at the beginning of class, slowly released hydrogen sulfide from a hidden container he opened before class… As a discussion about the diffusion of gases through other gases ensued, two or three pathways of memories are being created. Connection made. Memory Circuits… Making connections
It’s not a teachers role to turn a classroom into a video arcade… motivation by external rewards don’t get the big bang Student participation in an activity Active engagement, discovery, connect learned information with known information Memory Circuits… Actively Participate
Any new information learned must enter the brain through one or more of the senses (hearing, seeing or visualizing, touching, tasting, smelling, or emotionally feeling) First information is: decoded by the sense-specific receptor or the body. It travels through nerves in skin or body to spinal cord up through the reticular activating system, then it’s carried to the limbic system, it then enters the hippocampus… Memory Circuits… How it happens
After entering the hippocampus, messages are sent to the prefrontal lobe storage areas where they are connected to the new information to build relational memories The brain can then make the connection between the new information and stored memories and then forms a new integrated memory to be stored in the frontal lobe When the hippocampus is damaged, new memories can’t be formed How it happens cont.
G.O. help students see relationships and pattern new information for memory storage G.O. enable students to see patterns, access previously stored related memories and expand upon existing memory circuits G.O. coincide with the brain’s style of patterning Material is presented in ways that stimulate students’ brains to create meaningful and relevant connections to previously stored memories Graphic Organizers - G.O.
Every brain needs periodic rest, neurotransmitters can be replenished and executive function can process new material “Naps” prevent overloading of the circuits and interference with maximal memory storage and also positive emotional states Syn-Naps
After complex information is covered… 15 minutes of teaching followed by standing up to stretch, get a drink, just a couple minutes and the brain is ready to go again Neurotransmitters are depleted… After a quick break information moves from short-term memory to relational memory. Rebuilding Strategies
Information does not move to long-term memory until time and practice follow After rest, it is time to use a student centered cementing strategy… Example: Draw a Venn Diagram Generate mental images… look, feel, taste, sound Create metaphors and analogies Rebuilding Strategies cont…
Learning to play piano, the initial learning stage activates a great deal of the brain’s motor control region… hand/eye coordination In professional musicians, only a tiny portion of the motor control region is used… Conclusion… practice makes the neural network more efficient, a freeing up of brain energy to be used elsewhere Repetition and Consolidation
Introduce information when students are engaged with focused attention Include practice of accurate and precise observation Use multisensory avenues of exposure to the information that results in multiple connections and relational memory links to existing memory circuits to increase recall and memory storage Strategies to consolidate learned materials into Long-Term Memory
Create student-centered, personal motivation for learning Use skilled and practiced observation techniques (repetition and personal connections) Have students use the information to answer personally relevant, critical thinking questions or make and support judgments using new knowledge Strategies cont…
Pose practical, real-world problems for students to solve using the new knowledge. Problem or Inquiry based learning methods Ask students how they might use the information outside of school, how might it be important for future career. How is it important perhaps to their parents’ jobs? Strategies cont…
Brain-Based Learning • Definition: This learning theory is based on the structure and function of the brain. As long as the brain is not prohibited from fulfilling its normal processes, learning will occur.
Core Principles of Brain-Based Learning • The brain is a parallel processor, capable of performing many tasks at once • Learning engages the whole physiology • The search for meaning is innate • The search for meaning comes through patterning
Core Principles cont… • The brain processes whole and parts simultaneously • Learning involves both focused attention and peripheral perceptions • Learning involves both conscious and unconscious processes • Two types of memory: spatial, rote
Core Principles cont… • Understanding comes best when facts are embedded in natural spatial memory • Learning is enhanced by challenge and inhibited by threat • Each brain is unique
Research-Based teaching methodology - strategies • Small Group, Cooperative learning, • Explicit Instruction • Problem Based Learning/Inquiry Based Learning • Developing a Portfolio • Writing, Reading, Vocabulary across curriculum