Brain-Based Techniques to Engage Students

Decorative: A human head profile made up of many tiny people


A. "What Brain-Based Techniques Can I Use to Engage Students During Class?" (video; 24.31 m) "demonstrates several techniques to engage student brains in learning. All can be incorporated into either a traditional 50-minute or a longer class period."

B. Key Takeaways (examples and explications in the video)

1. Make connections: Use (higher-level) patterning activities to guide connections.

"The brain tries to connect new information to previously learned material. Isolated bits of information will quickly be forgotten."

  • Colors, categories, levels, hierarchies, mnemonics
  • Concept maps, pictorial representations

2. Make it new: Incorporate novelty.

"[T]he brain responds productively to novel stimuli and constantly tries to make meaning when exposed to something new and unique."

  • Analogies
  • Unique assignments
  • Pictures,  drawings
  • Videos

3. Engage emotions to strengthens recall.

"Emotions are really closely linked with memory, since they facilitate memory storage as well as recall."

  • Plan fun, creative, engaging, memorable learning activities.
  • Connect concepts with amusing, incongruous visuals.
  • Activate curiosity with inviting, interesting, non-threatening, but challenging activities.
  • Get students singing or laughing as they learn to cement recall.

C. "Brain-Based Learning Theory: 'The New Paradigm of Teaching'" (Slideshare)

"12 Principles of Brain-Based Learning & Neuroplasticity": See content summary below image

"12 Principles of Brain-Based Learning & Neuroplasticity":

  • "The brain is a parallel processor."
  • "Learning engages the entire physiology."
  • "The search for meaning is innate."
  • "The brain perceives & creates parts and wholes simultaneously."
  • "Emotions are critical to patterning."
  • "The search for meaning occurs through 'patterning.'"
  • "Our brains learn socially & collaboratively."
  • "Learning = conscious & unconscious process."
  • "Memory = spatial memory & rote learning systems."
  • "Each brain is unique."
  • "Our brain changes based upon experience: neuroplasticity."
  • It "understands & remembers best when facts/skills [are] embedded in spatial memory."
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