Neuroscientists do their utmost to shed light on how we learn. Their research in the field of brain electrical activity and blood flow has enormous consequences for teaching and learning communities worldwide.
So far we know that:
- embedding emotions in learning process boosts information recall;
- linking ideas by the means of listening, thinking, speaking, writing leads to better understanding;
- both focused (precision) and diffuse (big picture) modes of thinking are important for learning;
- chunking, i.e. uniting bits of information through meaning, helps to understand new concepts;
- learning both top-down (big-picture learning) and bottom-up (chunking) can be useful;
- memorizing happens on working and long-term memory levels;
- multitasking shifts our attention of the proper task, and thus it obstructs its accomplishment;
- relaxing and sleeping play an important role in learning process.
Is neurodidactics here to stay?
From language learning to leadership development, teaching pros have been radically revising their programs to upbrain them. However, brain-based education is here to stay only if it helps to provide an effective learning experience.
So far neuroscientists’ research has brought a deeper understanding of human’s brain. And though there are still many variables to be tested, these are schools which now need to catch up with student’s brain amazing abilities.
Understanding focused and diffuse modes is one thing. Making use of this knowledge while teaching languages or math is another. Similarly, the notion of chunking (“mental leaps” uniting bits of information through meaning) is just theory. Introducing it, say in a language school, needs to become teacher’s practice.
Neuroscientists do help teachers understand their students, and teachers need to do their bit for students. For example, teachers should teach students how to transition between modes – from logical thinking to processing emotions. They should also incorporate structural practice (that include plenty of repetition) with free speech in such a way that they work to students’ advantage.
To get more interesting facts about learning, I recommend reading “A Mind for Numbers” by Barbara Oakley. The book will walk you through various brain secrets.