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CHART of Brain Givens and Learning Implications

By SUE BOS

BRAIN GIVENS

1. The brain is a PATTERN SEEKER, made up of a network of neurons that provide the structure for individual neural maps of meaning. The brain is constantly on the alert for patterns as it processes and stores new information.

2. Although the number of neurons in the brain cannot increase, the network of
CONNECTIONS between neurons can increase in number and alter physically to be more efficient. These changes have been shown to happen:

* in stimulating and enriching
environments.

*through active mental and physical
engagement with materials.

3. The brain inputs information through the SENSES passing from the brainstem through the limbic system (the emotional control center) and then on to the neo-cortex. Emotions are at the base of all learning.

4. The brain can cognitively process and pay conscious ATTENTION to only 1 thing at a time.

5. The brain requires TIME to build and enhance the physical connections that are necessary to process input and transfer information from short-term memory to permanent long-term memory

6. EVERY BRAIN IS UNIQUE. Each brain is made up of it?s own unique genetic material and develops at its own individual pace. Each individual person has a collection of life experiences that are different from every person.

LEARNING IMPLICATIONS

1. Learning experiences must MAKE SENSE in order to allow new information to settle securely into existing brain patterns of knowledge. New learning experiences should facilitate connections to prior understandings and experiences, and should be meaningful to students.

2. LEARNING ENVIRONMENTS
should be: sensually stimulating; supplied with a variety of learning; materials; encouraging of active engagement with materials; supportive of discourse and exchange between class members.

3. Teachers must attend to the EMOTIONAL ASPECTS of learning. The learning environment must be emotionally and physically safe.

4. Students need TRAINING to develop successful attentional habits: HOW to focus attention and WHAT to attend to. Teachers cannot assume students have these abilities. These skills must be taught and nourished.

5. The school day must provide for REST and REFLECTION, time to to think, process, reflect and relax.

6. EVERY STUDENT IS UNIQUE. Teachers should try to understand, celebrate and challenge the individuality of their students.

Students should not be made to conform to teacher?s programs. Educational programs should be structured to meet individual students? needs and abilities whenever this is possible.


©Community Works Institute (CWI),
All Rights Reserved


A Teacher's Thoughts on the Brain

The Mechanics of the Brain l Brain Chart

Brain Givens and Learning Implications

The Brain and Service-Learning


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Sue Bos is a veteran teacher at Guilford Central School in Vermont. She teaches 7/8 Science. Community Works Institute asked Sue to reflect on and compile her work investigating newer research on the brain. Her investigations are significant for their direct connections to her own classroom teaching. Several of the pieces included here originally appeared in Community Works Journal.

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