Friday, 28 March 2014

Brain Science for Teachers

Starting from scratch ?
Brain science is playing an increasingly important role in teaching and learning.

It's concepts are already being used fairly widely in lesson design. Soon I expect it will become an underlying feature of curriculum design.

If you are a teacher wishing to learn a little more about brain science then this post offers you some general guidelines to launch yourself into the amazing world of cognitive neuroscience.

Wednesday, 12 March 2014

Working Memory - The Learning Machinery

Working Memory Overview (click)
Just what is Working Memory ?

Working memory (WM) refers to those parts of the brain that actively hold multiple pieces of information in your mind while this information is assessed and manipulated.

WM is located in the pre-frontal cortex (behind your forehead).

This mental apparatus is involved in allocating attention, monitoring, perceptions, self-control, planning, goal setting, decision making, understanding, problem solving and conscious learning.

These processes are sensitive to age: working memory is associated with cognitive development, and research shows that its capacity tends to decline with old age.

All your explicit or conscious learning takes place here. The learning task requires mental effort and self-control. It is an energy demanding process. Working memory has a limited capacity. Learning how to learn - becoming an efficient learner - makes the learning process easier.

Thursday, 6 March 2014

Concentration is a key Mind Skill

It's King of the mind skills !

Make no mistake. You ain't nothing without it ! You couldn't even understand this text or sentence. Concentration is fundamental to all explicit learning (implicit or unconscious learning I will talk about on another day).

Concentration is a skill. Good news ! Skills can be improved. You can improve your powers of concentration. You would surprise yourself by how much ! Over time with training and practice you can strengthen and expand those brain circuits involved with attention and focus.

Tuesday, 4 March 2014

Key Habits for the Classroom

Come to class prepared !
Preparing for the Classroom

Don't sit back with your mind in neutral waiting for your teacher to "spoon feed" you. That's not an effective way to learn.

How many students are just hearing but not listening closely, seeing but not observing, taking notes without thinking, allowing their minds to drift ?

Sadly the answer is too many.

Are you one of these students ?
Would you like to improve ?

Monday, 3 March 2014


Beliefs are very powerful things !

Beliefs can affect behaviour (click to enlarge)
They may arise directly or indirectly. They may arise consciously or unconsciously. They can hold you back or propel you forwards.

Beliefs are simply brain circuits and the good news is that you can rewire these belief circuits if you want.

 Wrong beliefs can stop you learning.

Sunday, 2 March 2014

Become a Professional Student

"On-task" time is not too many hours.
Too often have I seen students wasting their time in class. I am talking about the normal, well behaved student. Yes, their books are open but they are just cruising along treating it all a little too casually. (Those involved with sports training frequently too tired to work effectively.)

Saturday, 1 March 2014

Prepare for Learning Success

Skills, Habits and Behaviors (click)
                Is IQ enough ?

While IQ is important there are a host of other intellectual and non-intellectual abilities that underpin a successful learning effort. (In fact IQ is not the best predictor of future success but more on this later).