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Lesson Plans

Brain Based Learning

[ Thread ][ Subject ][ Author ][ Date ]
Sandra Rees (sandra)
Mon, 16 Feb 1998 19:20:54 -0500

Greetings: a bit of wandering here.

>how the brain works on a small scientific level, and how that
>relates to learning. There is overwelming evidence that the more
>connections that you can make inside the brain, the longer the information
>can last. ie: relate lessons to real life.

A few weeks ago I had the "lucky" opportunity to hear Fritz Mengert talk about Brain
Based Learning. "Neuro-science and the creative loop: teaching the aesthetic brain"

(Now: doesn't this sound like information for an Art Teacher!!!

I had read some of his work this past summer. In two hours, I learned more than I ever
knew about "how" the brain transfers info., and the importance of the "linking" for
dentrite building. My understanding is that "if it is not used" there is no guarantee
that these connections remain. In fact, without use, they are reabsorbed into the
system. Hey, think about it, "What is you name, I can see your face, smell your
perfume, remember bla bla . . . etc." but a singular component of memory cannot be
reached at that moment. It is also my understanding that the more linkage we build
with dentrites, the better our ability to think creatively, therefore probably
retaining more avenues to recall facts etc.

> I wholly agree with the concept that brain based education makes a
> difference. Making understanding meaningful has been linked recently with
> theme immersion and thematic learning, but the key component is to try to
> make the theme relate to student concerns.

Art has such a mutitude of possibilities here. Perhaps more than any other singular
academic area. (in my view) Because art can so easily be math, language, social
studies . . . and you are still teaching your prescribed curriculum. Just choose the

> There are additional components to brain-based learning environments
> -- I like the work of William Glasser -- who's research promotes a teacher
> as leader model in the classroom, and stresses the importance of a
> non-threatening environment.

Mengert talked a great deal on this subject area (non-threatening). When a person is
"threatened" the brain goes into "protect" mode, consequence: less learning. PLUS no
flourescent lighting, lots of water, good snacks, lots of movement. There is an
elementary school in GA. (Mt Zion) that has raised ITBS scores substatially in a short
period of time. It has taken a complete relearning for established faculty and total
envolvement from ALL THE STAFF, including lunch room, custodians, libraian etc.
Earlier, that same Friday, I had listened to the principle of Mt. Zion speak, and the
test results were a delightful surprise. The philosophy was not focused on that
result, but the result was the proof of the pudding, so to speak. I tell this story
because State funds are driving this school. Their test scores are what the "funders"
seek. I see this as a concrete example of why administrators need to adjust their
directives; I.E. support staff of any academic area who focuses on diverse methods of
teaching. IT COULD BE YOU.

> Inquiry teaching pre-supposes that teachers are working together --
> another important aspect of thematic work -- the theme doesn't stop at the
> social studies door, or the science door, but includes all disciplines.

That's true in the purest sense, (don't wait for them: JUST DO IT) one can begin and
perhaps the rest will follow.

> Teachers who are interested in true theme immersion need to be working
> cooperatively with each other! This is administratively difficult for art
> teachers who might be "elective" rather than "core" in planning or
> implementing theme/immersion units.

My hope is that Art teachers let their diversity and abilities become known. Keep
abreast of what curriculum is happening with your students and/or select one grade or
class that you can focus on to bridge this concept. Administration does not even have
to know what you're doing (you are not doing anything WRONG); until you decide to show
the fabulous results to them or take time to present this cooperative adventure to a
PTA meeting.

Read Dennis Fehr's Contextualized Art Theory and concider the possibilities of
combining the two.

> Integrated curriculum provides wonderful opportunities for expansion
> into multicultural/diverse cultural issues of a community

and that is what we are, so why aren't we moving forward??? a question I pose to the
faculty at my college and all parents, teachers, administrators I talk to.

>and back to brain-based is a great place to incorporate different learning styles --
>remember the 7 ways of knowing?

I see going "back" to Brain Based as a losing of electricity, strick clock schedules,
training for the mechanized world? (not opposed to this) Were schools more Brain Based
in the past? What do you think?

>Lazear now has a book out on the 7 ways of teaching based on Gardner's work.

Thanks for the info. I'll search for it. Title, etc.?

later; and finally YEA! my topic area!!!

Sandra Rees