At the beginning of this course, I know I have a lot to learn about the brain’s function and influence on learning. So far, I know I am susceptible to many neuromyths! I realize I rely on my own common sense and perspectives through my experience, which may not always be true. I thought it was interesting to hear examples of intuition in this week’s lecture. One example was extrinsic motivators for students. The lecture shared that although it may motivate disinterested students, it decreases the interest in students who are motivated. Another example was note taking as an effective teaching strategy. The lecture stated that it may decrease the comprehension of students because they are more focused on copying notes than listening to what the teacher is saying. Note taking is a high-impact strategy used in our school district and is encouraged in our classroom. Students participate in note taking but do not write during my instruction because my intuition tells me they are focused on copying rather than thinking about the new learning. I often think about this when designing instruction and including note taking in my lesson plans. As I was listening to the lecture, I also realized how much I rely on authority to gain new knowledge and understanding. I always think it must be true if I read it in a book or heard it from a doctor. These ways of knowing are important to keep in mind as I think about my teaching practices and determine what works best for meeting my student’s needs.
I think it’s fascinating that researchers can see which parts of the brain are most active during different mental activities. I am very interested in learning how the brain plays a role in the learning process. What are the differences in areas of the brain that affect some students’ ability to learn to read more quickly than others? How can we use the knowledge of brain function to design strategies that help students learn? For example, Brain Matters (Wolfe, 2001) states, “When students read silently there is more activity in the frontal lobe, which helps comprehension. Reading aloud creates more activity in the motor area of the brain but there is less activity in the rest of the brain” (p.11). I will consider this as I design instruction to ensure that students have opportunities to read silently and in their head. I know I have a lot to learn and look forward to applying my new understanding of how the brain works in my classroom.
Patricia , W. (2001). Brain Matters. Alexandria: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development.