Teaching with the Brain in Mind

Teaching with the Brain in Mind

Teaching with the Brain in Mind

Teaching with the Brain in Mind

Excerpt

The revolution is being televised. Countless stories on the Discovery Channel and PBS have revealed exciting new insights about the brain. Mainstream broadcast media such as ABC, NBC, CBS, and CNN and publications such as Time and Newsweek have carried stories about recent brain discoveries. Dozens of books, videos, journals, newsletters, and publishing companies have documented this burgeoning field.

Educators worldwide have taken notice, and models of how we educate are being transformed. With brain-based learning now an established paradigm, if a far from universal one, it makes sense to explore some basic questions. First, how strong and reliable is this field of brain-based learning? Second, how do we know what we know about the brain? Can we apply laboratory findings directly in a classroom? The themes implied by these questions are simple; they are about answering the critics of brainbased education, understanding the sources that underlie it, and reviewing the reliability of evidence.

Let’s begin with two fundamental facts. First, students who attend school from kindergarten through secondary school typically spend more than 13,000 hours of their developing brain’s time in the presence of teachers. Second, their brains are highly susceptible to environmental influences— social, physical, cognitive, and emotional. And, more important, their brains will be altered by the experiences they have in school. As educators, we . . .

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