We now better understand, through developmental neurobiology, how experience in early life affects these different stages of development. The architecture and function of the brain is sculpted by a lifetime of experiences which affect the architecture and function of neurobiological pathways. The neurons differentiate for their diverse functions e. Experiences that affect brain development through the sensing pathways include sound, touch, vision, smell, food, thoughts, drugs, injury, disease and other factors.
In recent years educators have explored links between classroom teaching and emerging theories about how people learn. Exciting discoveries in neuroscience and continued developments in cognitive psychology have presented new ways of thinking about the brain-the human neurological structure and the attendant perceptions and emotions that contribute to learning.
Explanations of how the brain works have used metaphors that vary from the computer an information processor, creating, storing, and manipulating data to a jungle a somewhat chaotic, layered world of interwoven, interdependent neurological connections. Scientists caution that the brain is complex and, while research has revealed some significant findings, there is no widespread agreement about their applicability to the general population or to education in particular.
Nevertheless, brain research provides rich possibilities for education and reports of studies from this field have become popular topics in some educational journals. Enterprising organizations are translating these findings into professional development workshops and instructional programs to help teachers apply lessons from the research to classroom settings.
References to several teaching models based on brain research are found below. Opportunities for Learning Most neuroscientists believe that at birth the human brain has all the neurons it will ever have. Some connections, those that control such automatic functions as breathing and heartbeat, are in place at birth, but most of the individual's mental circuitry results from experiences that greet the newborn and continue, probably, throughout his or her life.
How and when neural connections are made is a topic of debate.
Some researchers believe the circuits are completed by age five or six. Other studies extend the period of development from birth to the later elementary school years.
Still others argue that nerve connections can be modified throughout life with new connections forming perhaps even late in life. For educators who subscribe to the first view, programs and activities aimed at preschoolers e.
The second perception supports offering complex subjects much earlier in the curriculum than has been traditional. The third encourages efforts for lifelong learning.
The links between learning, the number of neural connections, or the time frame for development of those connections are not clearly understood. In the case of sight, evidence suggests that after a critical development period vision is severely stunted or fails altogether.
For musical learning, some researchers have found that the longer someone plays an instrument the more cortex will be dedicated to controlling the finger movements needed to play it. Exposure to music and development of spatial reasoning skills that can be transferred to mathematical understanding seem to be connected.
These and other findings encourage educators and parents to expose very young children to a variety of learning experiences-providing blocks and beads to handle and observe, talking to the child, playing peek-a-boo.
The NCTM Curriculum and Evaluation Standards encourage teachers of kindergartners to let students work with patterns; sort, count, and classify objects; use numbers in games; and explore geometric shapes and figures.
It is not too early to engage such young children in discussions about patterns, beginning data analysis, sequencing, and number sense. The introduction of a second language is best attempted in these early years as well. In fact, some researchers look to the first year of life as the best "window of opportunity" for accelerated learning.
Emotions and the Mind Educators may find the most useful information in research that focuses less on the physical and biochemical structure of the brain and more on the mind-a complex mix of thoughts, perceptions, feelings, and reasoning.
Studies that explore the effects of attitudes and emotions on learning indicate that stress and constant fear, at any age, can circumvent the brain's normal circuits. A person's physical and emotional well-being are closely linked to the ability to think and to learn effectively. Emotionally stressful home or school environments are counterproductive to students' attempts to learn.
While schools cannot control all the influences that impinge on a young person's sense of safety and well-being, classrooms and schools that build an atmosphere of trust and intellectual safety will enhance learning.
Letting students talk about their feelings can help them build skills in listening to their classmates' comments. Finding ways to vent emotions productively can help students deal with inevitable instances of anger, fear, hurt, and tension in daily life.
Are you left brained?Summary analysis After watching the collection of talks on Mapping and Manipulating the Brain, read a thoughtful recap of the major points in this TED Study, and learn where experts believe things are headed.
Teachers who understand this neurological consequence of the brain’s programmed response to stress can change the educational and life outcomes for students who have been blamed and punished for unintentional acting out or zoning out.
brain—the human neurological structure and the attendant per-ceptions and emotions that con-tribute to learning.
Explanations of how the brain works have used metaphors that vary from the computer (an information processor, creating, storing, and How Can Research on the Brain. Dec 20, · The human quest to seek knowledge, satisfy one's sense of wonder, develop more abilities, connect with others, and understand society is integral to research.
Perpetuating truths, as well as debunking lies and myths require inquisitive minds and priceless attheheels.coms: It is important for teachers and parents to understand that maturation of the brain influences learning readiness.
For teachers, this is especially important when . Explanations of how the brain works have used metaphors that vary from the computer (an information processor, creating, storing, and manipulating data) to a jungle (a somewhat chaotic, layered world of interwoven, interdependent neurological connections).