Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Our Latest EdWeek Commentary Highlights an Underappreciated Strategy: Teaching Students About How Learning Changes the Brain

Marcus and I had an opportunity to stress the importance of teaching students about their brains and learning when responding to a question for Education Week as a part of the popular Classroom Q&A with Larry Ferlazzo.

The question for this blog post was: "What is an instructional strategy and/or teaching concept that you think is underused/underappreciated in the classroom and should be practiced more widely?"

In our response, we pointed out how teaching students about their brains can have a transformative impact in the classroom, but unfortunately the knowledge about how brains change during learning is traditionally not taught.

We stressed how rudimentary lessons about the discovery that learning changes the structure and function of the brain can engross students—especially when combined with instruction on the use of cognitive and metacognitive strategies that guide students to learn how to learn.

Marcus and I cited three strategies that teachers can use to inspire students with basic knowledge about their brains and how students learn:
  • Teach students about brain plasticity by describing basic structural elements such as what dendrites, axons and neurons are and how connections in the brain create learning;
  • Share information from brain researchers about how practice has a positive effect on learning; and
  • Remind students that they are in charge of their learning, and teach them valuable learning tools.
We advocate the importance of teaching students various learning strategies, such as how to gather information to help solve a learning problem, how to plan a solution, the importance of taking action in alignment with their plan, and how to learn to persist until the problem is solved.

We invite you to read the entire post at the Education Week blog.

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