I have been pleasantly surprised and pleased with all of the neurobiology related pieces that have hit my radar screen of late. The research, much of which has existed for quite some time now, is finally making it into the mainstream discussions about teaching and learning. My hope is that people will not only read the articles and ponder their implications; but more importantly, they will actively think about how they can change or modify what they are actually doing in the classroom in order to incorporate some of the things we now know about how students learn.
I certainly have changed quite a few things in my own classroom as a result of all that I have learned about how students learn from the current and not so current research. Change is uncomfortable, but if we are to best serve our students, we have to willing to question and rethink everything we do as new information and research becomes available.
So, here are just a few of the brain-related items that I came across this week. I encourage you to read them and then engage in a discussion about one or more of the pieces with a colleague or two.
- Studying With Quizzes Helps Make Sure the Material Sticks covers the concept of retrieval practice and how powerful it can be for long-term memory.
- How Stress Affects the Brain During Learning appeared on the Edudemic website recently and includes some good neurobiology and some pragmatic tips for educators.
- A veteran teacher turned coach shadows 2 students for 2 days – a sobering lesson learned is not exactly a neurobiology blog post, but I think that the observations and key takeaways that the author describe are most definitely connected to what we now know about learning and speak to my plea to make changes in our practices.
- Why Your Brain Needs More Downtime is actually not a new piece but it did appear on my twitter feed this week and does a thorough job of exploring the research behind neurological breaks and their importance with respect to long-term memory and even creativity.