Family Magazine

Is Something On Your Mind?

By Mackenzie Sheahan @kenziesheahan

Human Brain Evolution

I think educators ought to be interested in the brain because they teach brains!  If you’re a classroom teacher, you’ve got about 30 of them in your room and I can’t imagine who would teach a room full of brains who wouldn’t be interested in brains.  New developments are helping us to understand the teaching and learning process in ways we couldn’t have imagined before this…If you’re involved in the development and maintenance of a brain you need a kind of knowledge that is more than folklore knowledge.”

- Robert Sylwester

As educators we have been chosen and called to create environments that allow students to thrive and learn to the best of their abilities.  We go through our daily routines, lesson plan, correct papers, and do our best to stay afloat…but are we stopping to think and reflect?  Do we look at the test scores and since half of the students scored a B or above, move on?

The question is…

How can an educator be effective without looking at ALL aspects of how we learn?  Many educators, including myself, have had times where their theories or practices are not based on research and evidence.  We instead of educating ourselves on current research we mimic the type of educational practices that we experienced.   This has a lot to do with trying to stay afloat and survive the weight that has been put on our shoulders… the bigger concern is ‘How is this effecting our students?’

While talking to colleagues and parents I have found that there are some common myths to teaching and learning.  I think it is time we set the record straight and go mythbusters on some of these common misconceptions about the brain.

Myth v

All the facts that contradict the typical classroom setting are based on current brain research.  Researchers have learned more about the brain in the past few years than we had in the previous 100.

We have an old [educational] system that doesn’t work for kids. It works for some, but doesn’t work for enough students and we haven’t clearly formulated a new one.  So it would seem natural to turn to the brain to give us some guidance in how do we develop this new place to go to.

-Eric Jensen

So where do we start?  I think it begins with collaboration.  Scientists, educators, and parents need to work together towards a common goal.  What are you doing in your classroom today to move towards brain based education?

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