Education and Neuroscience should be working together because without the brain their wouldn’t be any knowledge or schooling required. Students and teachers rely on this piece of anatomy to be successful so why wouldn’t we want to know more about the functions and processes of this complex organ. Neuroscience can give teachers insight into the effects of boredom, the benefits of formative assessment and the different areas of the brain that are responsible for different intelligences, all of which can help teachers better meet the needs of their student’s brains.
First, In the presentation, “Big Thinkers: Judy Willis on the Science of Learning,” she states that “boredom activates the amygdala in the same way that the flight or flight instinct is activated in the animal kingdom.” This reveals that the stress of survival in the animal world does the same thing to our brains as a bored student. This is beneficial to education because when your brain is in this state of stress it is unable to learn new things. Engagement is an ongoing conversation amongst educators but because there is a lack of knowledge about the brain and what happens to the brain during a state of boredom, teachers don’t understand the stakes of engagement. For example, in my classroom when students say that something is boring, my pride gets hurt but also I think that it is rude. I worked hard on planning whatever it is that I had asked students to do and I don’t appreciate them telling me that they are bored. After this presentation I couldn’t help but think about those students telling me they are bored and really reaching out for help. If their brain is in a state of stress due to an activity in the classroom, as a teacher, shouldn’t I do something about that. I will be viewing boredom differently from this point forward.
Next, In the presentation, “Big Thinkers: Judy Willis on the Science of Learning, “ she states the importance of participation in every question, every time.” This revealed that letting shyer students sit back and not come up to the board is doing them a disservice in the classroom. In my classroom there are times when everyone has to do things but during whole-group lessons, students volunteer to answer questions and come up to the board. I sometimes choose randomly but students are always given the option to pass. Teachers are aware of the importance of creating a safe space for students to make mistakes in front of their peers, but there is something to be considered about providing opportunities for every student to answer every question and receive feedback privately. The school that I will be teaching at this coming fall is going to have chromebooks. I just went to a two day training, that has given me some ideas that would help in making sure that each student is always participating in private and receiving prompt feedback about everything that is assigned through google classroom. I will still allow students the opportunity to pass on things but there will be so much that they can’t pass on, in the form of formative assessments using forms through google drive. Considering the neuroscience aspect, I realize now that I need to take advantage of the neuroplasticity of the brain make sure that my students are making plenty of mistakes to learn from in an emotionally safe way. This idea is by Glenn Whitman and Ian Kelleher (2016) when it was stated “Providing students more frequent, non threatening, or low stakes, feedback on their understanding is critical to memory consolidation (pg.21).” This statement encourages me to give students opportunities to use knowledge immediately after encountering it so they are able to store this information in their long term memory.
Lastly, in the book. Neuro Teach, Brain Science and the Future of Education, by Glenn Whitman and Ian Kelleher (2016) states “schools put too much of their emphasis on psychometric intelligence at the expense of the others, and it is time to redress that imbalance (pg.17) “ A person/student has multiple intelligences, which means that measuring one's intelligence isn’t found in one place in the brain. Additionally, the different intelligences in the brain are networking and working together. As an educator, I feel like considering all of the different intelligences like creativity, social intelligence, and psychometric should all be considered in the classroom. It is easy to forget about someone's motivation, curiosity and social cognitive abilities when there is so much weight in standardized testing, but we as educators need to stop feeding that beast. Just because someone is intelligent in one area, it doesn’t mean that they are intelligent in all areas. I think it is important to teach the whole child and I think that means we consider the different areas of intelligence, in order to help foster well rounded people. By teaching to the whole child an educator is likely to better meet the needs of Tony Wagner’s list of seven critical competencies;
Big Thinkers: Judy Willis on the Science of Learning | Edutopia. (2018). Edutopia. Retrieved 28 May 2018, from https://www.edutopia.org/video/big-thinkers-judy-willis-science-learning
Whitman, G., Kelleher, I. (2016). Neuro teach, brain science and the future of education.