Sunday, 20 April 2014

Visualization, Imagination and Learning

Movies in the mind !

Most people can create mental imagery - to varying degrees - by consciously "seeing" or visualizing almost anything in their mind's eye. It's usually quick and easy to mentally visit, explore or manipulate any familiar place, object or abstraction. Visualization is an essential skill to develop, especially for the classroom, whether you are a teacher or a student.

Thursday, 17 April 2014

Brain Science Myths

Don't be shocked but ... !

Cognitive Neuroscience and its recent offspring, Educational Neuroscience, (check it ) have been telling us for a long time now that - despite the many investigations - there is no evidence that certain Brain-Based learning ideas have any worthwhile benefits.

I've been long aware of these findings but I thought I would make mention of them here.

1. Brain Gym. Absolute rubbish. A couple of years ago even it's inventor admitted it started as a joke.

2. Learning Styles. Absolute rubbish. Neuroscience soundly condemns this idea.

3. Multiple Intelligences. Again taken completely out of context. There is only one general intelligence ! (see my Working Memory post)

 4. Left-Brain, Right Brain Learning. Absolute rubbish. You teach and learn with both hemispheres - the whole brain.

Might be shocking news to learn this but there it is !

By the way I draw your attention to a good Brain Science book:

Geake, John G. The Brain at School Educational Neuroscience in the Classroom. Maidenhead, England: McGraw-Hill/Open University Press, 2009.

Monday, 14 April 2014

Teaching Tool for the Real World

Open the door to the real world !
Bringing relevancy to the classroom

 On occasion we may hear a student say "why do I have to learn this ?"  or "what use will this be to me after school ?".

As a teacher I found this a bit frustrating sometimes because I knew more of the bigger picture that I was teaching towards - step by step. I knew that the seemingly irrelevant section of work was very important indeed.

Telling them "trust me, it's important" was not enough. I wanted to help open the eyes of my students to the living and working reality of the outside world. I wanted to give them some meaning and purpose in what they were doing within the walls of the classroom.

So I devised a very handy teaching tool !

Saturday, 5 April 2014

Deeper Thinking and Reasoning

Thinking and Reasoning Practice

  • Task. Consider these two well know expressions:

Steak on the plate while you wait or pie in the sky when you die ?

Work hard without reward in this life, for your rewards shall be given in the next life !

Reflect on these statements.

Lost in deep thought !
First, consider each one individually and reflect on it for while. Then perhaps jot down your thoughts. As a guide for you only (no right or wrong here) ask yourself a few questions such as : How do you interpret the meaning of each expression ? What implied message, if any, do you think they convey ? Who do you think would use such expressions ? Why do you think these expressions came about ? When do you think they arose ? Do you agree with the messages ? Why or why not ? How well do you think people regard the messages today ? And so on ..

 Secondly, Compare and contrast the expressions (again there are no right and wrong here). For example; Do the expressions complement or oppose each other or neither ? What would someone who identifies with one expression say about the other ?

Now consider them for various points of view (eg. philosophical, political, religious, corporate, cultural, military, societal). How could their interpretations differ ? Explain why you think their interpretations may change over time ? What arguments could be made for supporting (and opposing) one expression over the other from some of these different standpoints ?

From time to time practice a little in-depth thinking and reflection. Helps you to explore for deeper meanings which may lead to better understanding ! Surely that must be a good thing for you ... ?

Or is it ?
(think about that)

Over to you now ....

Wednesday, 2 April 2014

What Successful Students Do

Hmmm .. no problem at all !
It's no great secret !

There is no great secret to learning success. It's pretty simple really, provided you prepare yourself for the learning job ahead. This means equipping yourself with the learning know-how, tools and resources - getting yourself ready to go !

In fact, regardless of the degree of difficulty or size of the learning task you should always feel quietly confident knowing that you are well prepared to take on most anything - thinking "not a problem" I know I can handle that !

So how can you prepare for learning success ?