Brain-Friendly Learning Improves Success

When it comes to learning, there is no one-size-fits-all approach. Research confirms that different people learn in different ways. Some people are experiential, or somatic, learners-they need to DO in order to learn. Others learn just fine from books and lectures. Some folks are visual learners, needing to see what they are learning about, while others rely more on hearing. Certain people can concentrate for long periods of time, while others learn best in short bursts. Given the range of learning styles, how can a teacher in a classroom make sure everyone has the most effective learning experience? Well, it’s a challenge.
For students and teachers, using brain-friendly techniques improves learning. Most brains learn from using information, repetition, discussion, and activating multiple senses. The brain tends to remember useful information, and experiencing emotion with learning promotes memory even more. Teaching something to another person usually helps someone learn the information. Similarly, doing something with newly learned information makes it easier to retain the information.
Beyond the similarities, brain characteristics vary based on left-right dominance and on upper-lower thinking preferences. The left brain favors logic, words, and numbers, while the right brain likes randomness and images. Teenagers, colleges, and adult learners find that once they know how to use their own brains most effectively, they learn better and more efficiently. Brain preference tests provide useful information about individual thinking preferences. Such tests ask individuals to pick out the statements from lists that describe them the best. Results may show strong dominance in one style of learning, preference for a number of styles, or a balance of all styles.
Knowing their thinking preferences not only helps people learn, it also helps them choose colleges, careers, and life paths that they will enjoy and succeed in. For example, a left-brain learner is more suited to work as an accountant or engineer than is a right-brain learner, who is likely to favor artistic or interpersonal careers. Everyone benefits from expanding their learning abilities, but for major life direction satisfaction is more likely to result from focusing on preferred intelligence and learning styles.
Teachers, learners, and parents can find excellent resources on brain-friendly learning on the Internet and from books. Experts provide helpful information on topics such as how to discover a child’s learning style, multiple intelligences, brain research, brain-based learning. Catalogs offer handbooks, teaching aids, and activity books. Teachers may participate in workshops that help them integrate brain-friendly teaching into their classrooms.
Teachers can improve their teaching by participating in brain-friendly courses and workshops. They learn to give students learning style choices, emphasize real-life tasks in classes, motivate students, become sensitive to varying attention spans, and engage the multiple senses of students. With experience teachers are able to help students discover and use their brain preferences.
Teachers serve their students best by including different ways of receiving information in their classrooms. They can do this by presenting students with options and choices, and by helping them understand that there is no right or wrong way to learn.

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