Sunday, June 29, 2008

The Brain: Understanding How it Functions and the Impact on Our Teaching Practice

Reading and studying about how the brain works had more of an impact on my teaching practice than any course required by the teaching credential program I undertook.

When I encounter former students, they reminisce about the information I presented on the functioning of their brains, metacognition, and the metaphors I used to help them understand how to use their brain to boost their learning. There is no mention of geometry or algebra (the subjects I taught) during these encounters.

As is especially appropriate for their age group (teenage/young adult), they were thirsty for knowledge of themselves, especially when compared to learning the quadratic formula or the Pythagorean theorem.

The following videos are about two amazing people sharing their experiences, helping to give us insight into how our brains work.

4 comments:

Barry Garelick said...

You might want to view Dr. Dan Willingham's talk on You Tube about Brain-Based education: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vdJ7JW0LgVs

MathChique said...

Thank you. I watched the video, and glanced at Daniel Willingham's web site. I thought it was interesting that on his website he had written numerous articles, for education publications, about applying how the brain works to education.

Barry Garelick said...

I am familiar with his website and papers. His research into neuroscience is carefully done and does not fall into the category he warns about in his video. Much of his research on education pertains to behavioral aspects of cognition, as well as neurological. See also his article in American Educator:
http://www.aft.org/pubs-reports/american_educator/issues/fall2006/cogsci.htm

MathChique said...

Thank you once again. I did read the article you suggested. I had skimmed it already, but this time I read it in its entirety.
I can feel Daniel Willingham's frustration with teachers (or the education industry). It reminds me of my frustration when education policy swings from one fad to another: whole language versus phonics or math concepts versus computational skill. The skilled educator will include everything necessary for a meaningful understanding of a subject despite what is legislated at any given moment.
A skilled educator should also be able to sort the seed from the chaff whether reading about the brain or attending the latest in-service required by the school.
Your comments bring a point of reflection.

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