If you have been following my series of posts last week on neuroeducation, you will have seen how learning actually changes the shape of the brain, allowing specific areas in the brain to grow or change.
Neuroeducation is moving closer to the classroom as researchers understand how young minds develop and learn.
An interesting recent finding is that children from troubled family situations show abnormally high blood levels of cortical – a stress hormone – which drops dramatically while in preschool. This finding suggests that placing children from troubled families as early as possible in a safer environment – such as preschool – is a good idea not just from an educational- but also a mental health point of view.
Six ways to apply neuroscience to learning
- Connect emotionally with the child – a safe environment promotes learning while fear kills learning. This is first on the list because it is the most important.
- Create an enriched physical learning environment – employ as many of the five senses – seeing, hearing, touching, tasting and smelling – in your teaching.
- Teach on how to apply knowledge – not just impart knowledge for knowledge sake – thus, learning to tie a shoelace can also be used to wrap a gift for mom.
- Teach for mastery – break down the information into manageable units and create tests for students to take on each of the units. Leave no child behind.
- Design curricula based on big-picture concepts – change your style and approach as situations change.
- Evaluate learning outcomes periodically – you need to know quickly what’s working – and what’s not.
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