Holly Linder has been known to sing the praises of her elementary school students in the Kent City School District in Kent, Ohio. She is a music teacher, after all, so any singing of praise—either literal or figurative—is highly appropriate.
Sometimes, when her
students’ voices are raised in song, Ms. Linder simply cannot contain
herself. “I feel so good about them that I shout out the window how
great they’re doing,” she said in an interview for the BrainSMART
publication, Effective Teaching, Successful Students.
causes Ms. Linder to raise the window and her voice in praise is the
effort that students put into improving their performance. As with any
academic pursuit, meaningful musical achievements come primarily through
hard work. This is something that Ms. Linder impresses on her
students—that the work they’re doing in second grade is harder than what
they did in first grade, and that it will be harder still in the third
grade. However, with hard work comes the reward of becoming more
may have talent, but Ms. Linder has learned that development of musical
potential occurs largely because learning and practice result in neural
connections forming in the brain. This is part of the understanding she
acquired while earning her Master of Science with a Major in
Brain-Based Teaching (Concentration in Learning and Teaching), which she
completed in 2011.
“It’s amazing the connections that
can be made in the brain,” reported Ms. Linder. “I’ve been interested in
the process of music therapy, and I know that music does so much for
the brain. This program helped me understand more about the brain and
how it works.”
Understanding the brain’s amazing
plasticity has helped Ms. Linder appreciate the potential in every
student. “Everyone has the plasticity to grow,” she said. “If you’re
interested in music, you might not become Yo-Yo Ma, but if you start out
as a 1, you can work to become a 2 and then a 3. Plasticity means that
everyone has the potential to achieve. Students can make themselves
smarter by their own effort.”
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