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Unformatted text preview: 1 of 8 Brain Research Warning
Highly controversial "What is known" keeps changing Not much consensus; especially on translating neuroscience into educational practice Challenge: question and seek information Let's see what you know.
True or False: We only use about 10 % of our brains. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v =bMJ0c-j3wYg #2
True or False: Babies are born with the ability to learn all the languages in the world. True
The infant brain is "wired" to seek out and learn language. Amazingly, infants are born with the capacity not just to learn language, but to learn all languages. They are able to perceive the different sounds and patterns of speech of all languages in the world. For example, at birth, Japanese babies can hear the distinction between "r" and "l", although only the "r" sound exists in Japanese. They can still hear the distinction at 6 months of age, but cannot by 12 months of age. Between 6-12 months, babies begin to fine-tune their ability to perceive the speech sounds of their native language as opposed to non-native language. Even in the womb, the infant is turning towards the melody of its mother's voice. The brain is setting up the circuitry needed to understand and reproduce language.
True or False: Because the brain is making so many connections pre-birth to age 3, the first three years of life are the most critical for brain development. After age 3, the "window of opportunity" closes. Basically, once you hit three, you're stuck with the brain you've got. False
You're sitting here learning something right now aren't you?!! What we know from brain development research right now is that for very specific aspects of brain development, such as the visual system, that critical periods exist and thus a window of opportunity. The brain is adaptable and flexible, although the ability to adapt changes with age and situation. In reality, there are many windows of opportunity throughout development. Knowing that the brain is more flexible than previously thought doesn't mean that it's easy to change the brain. It's an incredibly difficult challenge. Much more research is needed before we can make claims or suggestions about how to do that. (www.zerotothree.org) You can change your brain
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v =QPsDg0hLnxA "The greatest discovery of my generation is that a human being can alter his life by altering his attitudes." William James Experience shapes the brain
The brain sculpts itself from outside experience. In a sense, our experience becomes biology. We used to think that the brain you were born with was the brain you were stuck with, but we now know that learning experiences change and reorganize the brain's structure and physiology. Several studies have shown actual structural changes in various parts of the brain depending on the way in which these structures were used. We now know that learning is a matter of making connections between brain cells and that the experiences our students have shape their brains. Obviously we do learn from reading and hearing, but the strongest connections are often made through concrete experience. Which do you think would make the most lasting changes in the brain, reading about an experiment someone conducted, or performing the experiment yourself? (www.brainconnection.com) #4
True or False: Exercise and good nutrition aid in brain development. False
Doughnuts do! Right, we wish! True
Breast milk contains all the amino and fatty acids needed for brain development. Some research has shown that babies who are breast-fed as compared to babies who are formula-fed have scores that are significantly higher on IQ tests. Children who are malnourished--not just fussy eaters but truly deprived of adequate calories and protein in their diet--between mid-gestation and two years of age do not adequately grow, either physically or mentally. Their brains are smaller than normal and they suffer often lasting behavioral and cognitive deficits, including slower language and fine motor development, lower IQ, and poorer school performance. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=brlvql_jCqM #5
As you get older, your brain will age, not function as well and there's not much that can be done about it. Not so true http://www.pbs.org/wnet/brain/episode5/video. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v= BKsYEJWCoJk Introduction to the Brain BrainPop
Meet Tim and Moby http://www.brainpop.com Rat Brains 2 of 8 The brain is Not Linear
We do not process things one at a time; one after another; instead, we process different types of information in different parts of the brain simultaneously We do not fully understand how we integrate all this information; there is no physical place in the brain where information is integrated (e.g. sound and sight are processed separately and we don't know how the brain joins them) Many paths Many inputs at once Many modalities Many levels of consciousness Massively parallel 3 of 8 Physiology
A million axons, working simultaneously, go to the brain from each eye The brain has 100,000,000,000 (one hundred billion) brain cells the number of connections the brain can make is unknown between one hundred trillion & 10 to the 80th power More than the estimated number of atoms in the known universe 4 of 8 Physiology (cont.)
Three brain areas are interrelated brain stem - controls your vitals (contains midbrain, pons, medulla oblongata) Cerebellum controls movement & balance) Cerebrum thinking brain Other big wig parts you may have heard of: Amygdala - emotions Hippocampus memory Thalmus relay center Pituitary hormones/growth Hypothalmus - temperatrre Frontal: planning and reasoning Parietal: sensation and movement Occipital: vision Temporal: memory, speech and language Physiology (cont.)
Size of brain is relatively unimportant
Einstein had average brain Balzac, had a brain almost 40% larger The two sides of the brain describe how we process (left - sequentially, right - holistically) Brains develop at different rates; one study suggests the growth rate peaks later in children with higher IQ Some studies suggest that the prefrontal cortext (the area associated with decision making and risk) is one of the last to fully develop 5 of 8 Physiology (cont.)
Sex differences: female brains process language and feelings at the same time more efficiently than the male brain The right side of the brain is more active when the learner feels depressed, negative, or stressed An excessive "Pollyanna" view of reality is linked to right hemispheric activity Under stress the brain functions differently "minimizes" So students don't learn when they feel threatened or overly stressed
Can you think of some examples of when this might occur? No learning occurs when there's... Bullying Abuse Ridicule (that's a stupid question) Test anxiety Fear of being embarrassed, not performing, not getting rewarded Fear of being outcast But, some stress is helpful. Memory
Two types: Declarative stuff you know (information, past experiences) Procedural "muscle memory" (riding a bike, writing letters) It's dynamic, not static changes with new experiences Decays over time Visualizing, writing, symbolizing, singing, semantic mapping, simulating and devising mnemonics are strategies that can be used to reinforce and increase the likelihood of recall. They often have the added benefit of enhancing students' understanding of concepts as well as retention. (www.Brainconnection.com) 6 of 8 Teaching Environments
Classrooms are organized to present things one at a time - for the convenience of the teacher not the benefit of the learner Linear teaching environments are inefficient and incompatible with the way the brain functions Creative positive learning rituals Arrival rituals
Music & Fanfare Positive greetings & special handshakes 7 of 8 Creative positive learning rituals (cont.)
Organizational rituals Team or class names Cheers & games Applause when learners contribute Closing and ending rituals Situational rituals 8 of 8 Teaching Environments (cont.)
Brains Mature at different rates: In same age classrooms, the level of brain maturity may vary by as much as 3 years The role of emotions in learning Emotions tell us what to pay attention to Emotions trigger learning Consider the affect aspect of your lessons (use surprise, joy, etc.) ...
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- Fall '08