Learning and the Brain
What is “best practice” in teaching these days? Is it something that one can pinpoint or is it a moving target–something educators (or doctors, or psychologists) are always having to chase? When I ask my colleagues: “What is best practice?” I never receive the same answer.
Is understanding the brain and its biology part of best practice for teaching? Yo’ darn right it is! But, how come no one talks about it? Is it too cutting edge, too elusive, too hard to pinpoint? It is efficient for me to sit in staff meetings learning how to meet the needs of language learners when I think I really should be learning how mirror neurons aid in learning language?
Isn’t it fascinating to understand why memory + emotion = efficient learning? You betcha! Shouldn’t I be engaged in the processes of procedural learning v. working memory to enhance my teaching to enhance learning? Si señoritas! Why, as educators, are we not more focused on learning the basics of the brain? It is the most important organ we teach to, and yet we are lucky to learn the basic names and functions of the lobes. If you know the function of the hippocampus and you are an educator—you are thousands of dendrite connections ahead of most! I won’t even go into the importance of adding Norepinephrine into cementing experiences into learning…that will be another post! (okay I lied—norepinephrine is the Wow this is fun! neurotransmitter—-it helps the brain focus, and attention is paramount for learning! I know cool right?!)
I hope in the near future, teacher training comes with mandatory classes Brain Biology 101 & Brain Neurology 102.
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