Neuroscience and Learning

The concept of transformational learning is experience critically reflected to develop new insight and opportunities for change. By understanding how people think, rationalize, accept and disseminate information provides the teacher with the knowledge of how to take those experiences and facilitate the critical reflection so that the individual can develop changes in their perceptions of the knowledge they have.

Understanding how people retain memory, what key factors are related and how effective is the presentation material is essential in getting the message to the students. There are key factors associated with learning. Memory is a major part of the task. The emphasis on this is what factors we have to consider when presenting material. Are there key words or gestures that will cause the student to remember something they have learned? In addition, the factor of understanding how the brain works as far as what materials discussed in verbal and what should be presented in video, graphic or black board practice.

Understanding how we comprehend what we read and how we develop our language skills is important when teaching adults. Understanding their mannerisms, comments, attention span and comprehension abilities allow the instructor to read the student. A student may not seem like they are paying attention but that does not mean that they are not taking in every word. This knowledge helps the instructor to read the body language they are giving out not the image she is receiving or assuming. We can change our way of thinking, absorbing and learning by practice and introduction to new ideas.

The short term and long-term memory process is very important. It is why many instructors are offering mid term and final exams that are open book and open notes. The idea of memorizing content vs. learning the subject studied. Quizzes are offered with open notes and open book. The students have to find the answers in their notes or the textbook. Therefore, it is an experiment in reinforcing the memory by looking for the answer and remembering the answer in context to the subject. It is revisiting what they know or learned and therefore reinstating in their minds terms, descriptions or explanations of the subject. Also the idea of offering written essays is a way of letting the student explain in their own way the material that is learned. Everyone has their own way of communicating what they have read and learned.

Communication in the classroom is essential. An understanding of the outcome must link the entire sender, the message and receiver concept. If the sender and the teacher does not connect with the receiver then the message is lost. The message must be presented so that the receiver can understand the context and content. Understanding the audience is in conjunction with understanding how they take in the information, process it and understand the content and relate it back to the sender. This involves the interplay of understanding how a person thinks. How they receive information and the importance of communicating with the receiver in such a way that the sender and receiver are connected. Using key words, phrases, emphasis on valid points, relating experiences, telling stories, is part of going the extra mile to connect.

Communication has many faces. It is not only appearing in the front of a classroom and demanding the attention of the audience. The teacher should understand how the audience thinks, how they perceive things, and how they communicate their thoughts. How the teacher presents themselves can either open the communication gap or close it. Body language, eye contact and giving the audience time to think through the question or comment before further discussion helps the audience to relate to the teacher and opens the communication gap. The thought, foremost in the teacher's mind when entering a classroom, is the question, 'are they only going to teach the subject or is it important that the student learn the subject.'

Being an expert on a subject does not automatically give the teacher the license to be able to teach the subject to the students. It only means that the teacher has knowledge of the subject. The next step is having knowledge of the students. Each person in the classroom is an individual who sees, hears, communicates, thinks, feels and behaves differently then the person sitting next to him or her. Each one has a different learning style, a different background of experiences in cultural settings, personal relationships, life goals, failures and accomplishments. Each takes in information differently, remembers things differently, and responds differently to questions, takes tests differently, have different ways of remembering, and so on.

My teaching philosophy: We must combine what we have learned with what we know to reach the full understanding of our potential. There is no limit to what we can learn but if we do not use what we have learned there is no knowledge. If there is no knowledge, there is no wisdom and if there is no wisdom then we are lost in a world of ignorance.

Article Source: Carol Farabee

No comments:

Post a Comment