I’ve been diving into the neuroscience of learning and teaching for several related projects. Much of what we now know about learning from the past 15-20 years of neuroscience and cognitive psychology research contradicts what we used to think we knew about learning. This new science also affirms and validates what critical theorists (Freire, hooks, and more) have been discussing about learning for decades.
I’ve amalgamated some common and shared key take aways here for teachers and learners of all kinds. These apply to facilitators, kindergarteners, professors, trainers, gym teachers, college students, new parents, and any of us of looking to learn or share what we have learned. I hope we are all learning and teaching all the time.
8 Tips from Neuroscience for Learners & Teachers of All Kinds
- Engage all the senses.
- Engage the mind, heart (emotions), and body (movement).
- Foster well-being for the body and mind with sleep, rest, nutrition, hydration, and exercise.
- Support learners in managing stress, threats, oppression, and fear and don’t add to them.
- Foster intrinsic motivation through meaning, relevance, rigor, and by celebrating progress.
- Encourage focused attention (mindfulness, not multitasking) in short spurts with lots of breaks.
- Encourage doing and reflecting in an ongoing cycle.
- Cultivate positive emotions and social connections.
References (with links)
Bresciani Ludvik, M. J. (2016). The neuroscience of learning and development: Enhancing creativity, compassion, critical thinking, and peace in higher education. Sterling, Virginia: Stylus.
Doyle, T., & Zakrajsek, T. (2018). The new science of learning: How to learn in harmony with your brain (Second edition. ed.). Sterling, VA: Stylus.
Jensen, E. (2008). Brain-based learning: The new paradigm of teaching (2nd ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA.: Corwin Press.
Medina, J. (2014). Brain rules (updated and expanded): 12 principles for surviving and thriving at work, home, and school. Seattle, WA: Pear Press.
Siegel, D. J. (2010). Mindsight: The new science of personal transformation (1st ed.). New York: Bantam Books.
Zadina, J. N. (2014). Multiple pathways to the student brain: Energizing and enhancing instruction (First edition. ed.). San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.