Pedagogy Welcome

Brain Building

working on a brainMany people have probably heard someone say they were “right brained” or “left brained.” While it is true that some portions of the brain are more active during some processes, advances in medical imaging have shown that the entire brain is engaged at some level in all processing. Such a finding, coupled with the knowledge that the brain has a high degree of plasticity, strengthens the idea that teachers can truly build the brains of their students.

In her book Engage the Brain: How to Design for Learning That Taps Into the Power of Emotion, author Allison Posey shares that neural networks grow and are strengthened through hard work, experience, practice, and quality feedback. Posey suggests the following strategies for creating a brain growing classroom environment (p. 66):

  1. Establish clear learning goals. Be specific. Make the goal easily understood by students.
  2. Create multiple opportunities and pathways for skill development. Scaffold as needed.
  3. Offer frequent feedback that is clearly related to the learning goal. Be specific!
  4. Make the learning process visible. Create displays of work in progress.
  5. Emphasize multiple pathways to the goal. Highlight how others are working toward the goal. Allow for variety.
  6. Create opportunities for students to share their processes with others.

As you plan for next week, think of ways that you can employ some of these strategies more fully in order to create a growth environment for your students. You and your students will benefit greatly!

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