Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Engaging Students With Brain-Based Learning

Direct instruction on how the brain learns best is an effective strategy, as borne out by Kim Poore’s experience in teaching a class of K-5 students with behavioral and emotional disorders in South Carolina’s Lancaster County Public School District.

Ms. Poore, who earned her M.S. with a major in Brain-Based Teaching, was enrolled in the Ed.S. program, at the time of her interview with the BrainSMART publication, Effective Teaching, Successful Students. This coincided with her teaching in a Title I school with a diverse population.

“I was able to take what I learned in just one lesson and use it in my class the next day,” said Ms. Poore in the interview. She pointed to several strategies from the BrainSMART book, 60 Strategies for Increasing Student Learning, that had immediate practical use in the classroom.

One of the practices she described in her interview: “I love using the Ten Pegs and the teaching strategies like snowballs where we would ball up paper and write a test review question, throw it out to the kids, they open the paper wad, read it, respond, and throw it back to the teacher. It is a fresh and effective way to reach these kids.”

Ms. Poore also described how her class was leading the entire school in incorporating movement in the classroom to get ready to learn, every morning over closed-circuit TV. The morning routine was used to awake children’s brains for a day of learning. In addition, her class created a character called Nancy Neuron to help the students understand how to rewire the brain and to illustrate advanced concepts of brain architecture and functioning.

According to Ms. Poore, applying the BrainSMART strategies has improved students’ academic performance as well as reducing behavioral problems. “I can’t imagine walking into the classroom without the knowledge and strategies that I’ve learned,” she concluded. “It makes my teaching and learning experience more rewarding.

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