I have been asked to write an article for the Florida Parent Educators Association. This is what I have so far...do you have any suggestions?
Whole Brain Teaching Improves The Health Of The Brain, And One’s Ability To Learn.
Many home educators now understand that each person prefers different learning (and teaching) styles. However learning styles are not written in stone. One can actually strengthen the less dominant learning (and teaching) styles. Why is this important?
According to the latest brain research: Learning is as natural as breathing, and it is possible to either weaken or strengthen a child’s natural desire and ability to learn in different life situations.
Researchers, using brain-imaging technologies, have been able to find the key areas of the brain responsible for each learning style. For example:
1. Visual/ spatial) learners prefer using pictures, images, and spatial understanding. This style develops the occipital lobes at the back of the brain. Both the occipital and parietal lobes manage spatial orientation.
2. Aural learners (auditory - musical) prefer using sound and music. They have developed the temporal portion of the brain. The right temporal lobe is especially important for music.
3. Verbal learners prefer using words, both in speech and writing. This learning style is managed within the temporal and frontal lobes, especially two areas called the Broca’s and Wernicke’s areas (in the left hemisphere of the temporal and frontal lobes.)
4. Physical (Kinesthetic) learners prefer using their body (hands and the sense of touch). These children have a well developed cerebellum and motor cortex which is at the back of the frontal lobe.
5. Logical learners prefer logic reasoning and systems. Studies show that these children have well developed parietal lobes, especially on the left side of the brain.
6. Social learners prefer learning in groups, or with other people. These children have developed the temporal lobes.
7. Solitary learners prefer working alone, and using self study. The frontal and parietal lobes, and the limbic system are very active with this style.
Research shows that by involving more of the brain during the learning process, children remember more of what they learn. According to Dr. Amen, whole brain teaching even improves the health of the brain (use it, or lose it).
(To see a picture of the brain showing the different parts, and to learn more about their functions:
The public school system uses mainly the “conventional method” of teaching: workbooks, lectures, flash cards, reading and multiple choice --- sit down a desk type work. Not only does this not improve the health of the different parts of the brain, but it is a disaster for many children. For example: Very bright “hands on learners” (38 % of the population) are often labeled as slow learners, problem children, ADHD, or called dumb by their class mates simply because the conventional method does not work for them. As a result, they often become convinced that “something is wrong with them“.
Applications For Whole Brain Health And Development
Studies show that with whole brain teaching (involving as many of the senses as possible), children learn faster, retain more, drop out rates decrease by 90%, and the health of the brain is improved.
1. Emotions simply exist; we don’t learn them in the same way we learn telephone numbers, and we cant easily change them. But we should not ignore them. Children can learn how and when to use rational processes to override their negative emotions, or to hold them in check by developing the frontal lobe area of the brain…learning that there are consequences to one’s actions. This part of the brain is almost totally ignored in today’s classroom setting.
2. learning is enhanced by challenge and inhibited by threat.
Emotionally stressful environments (for the educator and the student) are counter productive because they can reduce children’s ability to learn.
3. Learning is influenced by the natural development of the body and brain. According to brain research for example, there can be a five-year difference in maturation between any two “average” children. Gauging achievement on the basis of chronological age is therefore inappropriate, and counter productive.
4. The brain understands and remembers best when facts and skills are embedded in natural spatial memory, We remember what we experience. This principle can be applied to every subject through games and real life experiences. This is particularly important for the “hands on learner“. Educators should not exclude lectures and sit down at a desk type work; but they should make them part of a larger experience.
5. Each brain is unique. Teaching should be multifaceted in order to attract different interests, and to develop the whole brain. Helping children find their passion is a major part of their future success.
6. The objective of brain based teaching is to move from memorizing information to experiencing information.
7. Empower educators to do what ever is in the best interest of each individual child. One size does not fit all.
Even though these things have been recently learned by way of cognitive science’s brain scans, the method has been around over 30 years, and known as “Total Physical Response“. It has been well known that, with this method, children learn faster, retain more, drop rate decreases by 90%, and the health of the brain is improved.
For a real life example: “My Journey From Public School Teacher To Homeschooling Mom“: