Monday, August 4, 2014

Chapter 5: The Brain on Whole Brain Teaching

Which areas of the brain are you least likely to activate? Which areas are you most likely to activate?

Before studying Whole Brain Teaching, I usually only engaged the students' visual cortex (seeing) and Wenricke's area (language understanding). The areas I was least likely to activate were Broca's area (speaking), and the limbic system (feelings and emotions.)

After studying Whole Brain Teaching and the brain, I have worked harder to engage the limbic system. I found that if I have students write about topics that they are interested in when teaching grammar, their limbic system is involved and they remember the concepts because their feelings were involved. One student last year loved skateboarding. He would write sentences using any grammar topic I taught about as long as he could write on his favorite topic. Then later, he could apply his learning to the new topic about which he was writing.

Last year, I used Class-Yes to activate the prefrontal cortex which controls focus of attention and decision making. Another powerful teaching technique is Teach-Okay. This engages five areas of students' brains including the visual cortex (seeing gestures), motor cortex (making gestures), Broca's area (verbalizing a lesson), Wernicke's area (hearing a lesson), and the limbic system (giving emotional connections to the lessons.) As the students teach each other with words and gestures and the partner mirrors, both students are storing the information into their long term memory. Using the five classroom rules, scoreboard, hands and eyes, switch, and mirror also helped with engaging the students. It also ensures me that their whole brains are engaged in learning and adds funtricity to our classroom. By helping their whole brains to be involved in their learning, it is "teacher heaven" for me as they are storing their learning in their long term memory.

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