BRAIN FRIENDLY TEACHING –EMPOWERING THE LEARNER

PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT  FOR TEACHERS & AIDES empower the Learner and Teach Them ‘HOW’ to Learn

Do you deal with these sorts of kids?  

  • The Disengaged - ‘It’s boring…’
  • The Movers that can’t sit still
  • The Doodlers & the Chair Rockers
  • The Fiddlers
  • Kids that look away when they greet you
  • Kids who have lost confidence to even try
  • Kids that find it really hard to put their ideas to paper, even though you know they are ‘cluey’
  • Are you sick of competing with SMS messages to get, and keep, your students attention?
  • Are you teaching the entire classroom – or just the “Auditory” few?

It is imperative that teachers understand more about the brain and its implications for learning and teaching.  The greatest gift you can give a student is the knowledge of ‘how to learn’ and the motivation and confidence to want to do so ... and to become life-long learners.

The Brain Friendly Training delivery style is to have teachers experience how fast learning can be when using a whole-brain approach. You can give the information, which most will have heard before, but it is when they experience the fast results for themselves and accelerate their own learning that they will start to reflect on the possibility that their teaching delivery could be made ‘even better’ than it is. This is called a ‘conscious convincer’.

Teaching to the different learners is not hard. It is just a different mindset that will engage and excite them.

Simple things like allowing students who need to, to use colour with maths. That concept would once have horrified the Maths teacher in me, but after seeing kids jump a couple of levels in one semester, I am now open to it, and if it works for them, I totally support it.

After using Gabrielle Rico’s ‘Writing the Natural Way’ for two weeks with a group of very reluctant writers in year 9, I had them writing two pages of A4 in 8 minutes. These boys could not write a paragraph in a 45 minute period prior to this.

It is essential that we teach students ‘how’ to think, and it is also important to understand that some learners need space and time to get their own thoughts organised. Teaching them the basics of Mind- Mapping is vital in utilising the creativity of the Right brain, and encouraging thought-ordering with the Left. This is a fantastic skill for essays and assignments, report writing, planning, prioritising and collecting thoughts across all ages and subjects.

Teachers often ask students to study but rarely give them the skills of ‘how’ to do so. Again, knowing ‘how’ the Brain takes in information, stores it and recalls it is crucial, and there are some simple processes which teachers can implement to assist the learners in ‘how’ to learn and use good study techniques.  It takes about 30 minutes over six months for an 85-90% recall. This is an excellent technique for exams and information that needs to be put into the longer term memory, as well as a great homework skill.

There are five Principles of Brain Friendly Learning:
  • Keep it Real: Content and experiences must be seen as being real and relevant to their world
  • Learners are unique: Empowering the learner by helping them understand their learning styles and teaching them how to use their strengths
  • Teaching needs to be multi-sensory to be memorable. Chalk and talk do not work for long term retention.
  • Students will learn content if they can create with this content … if they can make brain patterns that are useful to them.
  • A positive mental, emotional and physical State is Vital for learning. Teachers can influence the Learner’s State by activating the various chemicals of the brain that are useful for the various stages of learning and recall.

The State we are in when we learn is the State we will default to when we go to use this learning.

Process for the Workshop:

I do believe, after workingwith Teachers over the years, that they want practical ideas and skills that will work immediately to assist the various learners who are in their classes.  For this reason, a practical Brain Friendly Training In-service day will include techniques to empower the learner to discover how they learn best through the joy and motivation of learning success.

‘The talk will be walked’!  We will teach these principles by having the staff experience them  personally, thereby understanding the power they have to increase their own learning and engagement. It will be an active, fun day with lots of useful, memorable and most importantly, practical learning.

This is a very full day but the emphasis must be on giving teachers skills they can then teach their students.