Sunday, May 31, 2009

#ASTD09 The Science of Brain-Friendly Teaching

Presentation: Using Your Noggin - The Science of Brain-Friendly Teaching
Presenter: Dr. Spencer Kagan

Any research information I can pick up on what we do can't hurt.

Noticed when I walked into the room he works to create a very positive, upbeat environment. 50s music, smiley people giving handouts, happy-looking clip art in the handouts. Bright colors on the site.

Of course, my inner Goth girl rebelled and wanted to turn the clip art people into zombies and listen to Iron Maiden.

It's a wonder they let me out of my cube.....


This is structured for note-taking. Pen and paper. He created an interesting workbook for this. I may add my notebook later as images. Depends on how motivated I get.

Align Instruction
- How Brain best learns through Structures.s

Silly Sports and Goofy Games as breaks.

Uses kinethetic motions as cues
- Ex. Quiet signal
+ Raise hand
+ Stop working, talking
+ Signal other

Example of talking to people. He gave cue - raised hand. We did same.
- This is an orienting response.
- Better attention.

Quiet signal
- External novel stimuli --> Orienting response
- Internal novel stimuli = Intelligence shift = Brain Activation
- Mirror neurons --> Contagion of attention
+ Mirror neurons - whenever we observe something doing something, our brain fires like WE are doing that thing. (Why I really don't like horror movies, Law and Order, etc)
+ There is a survival response in empathy and imitation
+ People who study this most - politicians and marketers.

TakeOff - TouchDown
- TakeOff (stand if true)
- TouchDown (sit if false)
- Why motion more brain friendly - getting more oxygen in the brain (and we need the exercise).
- The brain consumes 20% of our oxygen and glucose. Brian is 3 pounds.

Why we need the fuel
- 2000 dendrites on average in neuron
- Dendrites fire 200 times per second
- 100 billion networked neurons
- Yup - we want to give them oxygen.
- Each neuron will fire depending on
+ Configuration of neurons
+ What happened in the PAST that cause same firing pattern
+ Chemicals in brain at time

Read John Ramey's book - Spark

Movement energizes whole brain, thereby increasing retention

TakeOff, TouchDown vs. Raise a Hand
- Better nourishment - more large muscles, more oxygen
- Brain attend to novelty

Novelty - attention - retention

Stand Up, Hand Up, Pair Up
- We remember more what we SAY rather than what we hear.
- You want THEM to retain - STOP TALKING

Choice of how to structure the interaction.
- THEY structure. Pair up, then look for others who may know if stuck..
- Can't let your mind drift if you are continually searching. Not just paired up.
- How I structure moment to moment determine retention

Power of processing
- Gum = content, Chew = processing
- We want more Chew! Give the student more time to process.

Why frequent processing
- More energy for new learning
+ Brain is not designed to inhibit impulses.
+ If participants SITTING, they are inhibiting impulses. Energy levels go down.
- Clarify and refine thinking
+ More aware of what didn't know
- Store in long-term memory
+ Things don't gradually MOVE. You have to do something very different between long term and short term
+ Gotta have the processing to put it in long term. Do something with info.
+ We need to stop to let people process
- Clear working memory
+ Consciousness.
+ We have a limited capacity for working memory (10 things)
+ Limited capacity in working memory allows focus.
+ The processing clears working memory
+ To Do lists - clears working memory so you can CONCENTRATE. (Had that happen Wednesday!)
+ Have them write down their personal to do list before starting. Will have more of their undivided attention.
- Engage multiple intelligences and multiple memory systems
+ Social interaction lights up certain areas of the brain
+ Engaging Episodic Memory - most brain friendly. Retains very well.
+ Episodes - beginning and end. Location. Where the predator is.
+ We record in episodes. Therefore, we should help create episode

Verbalization increases Retention
- If teaching were the same as telling, we'd all be so smart we could hardly stand it - Mark Twain.

Stand Up, Hand Up, Pair Up & Rally Robin
- More nourishment
- More novelty and alertness (new person)
- More brains active
- More brain parts active
- Social Interaction
- Episodic memory

Team building - team interview.
- Teambuilding - think about FUN. Fantasy stuff
+ Favorite after school activity
+ favorite rock group / cartoon
+ Dream Car
+ Dream profession
+ Dream vacation
+ Who would you be for a day

- Academic Content - apply

The Amygdalae
- as a threat sensor
- 2 amygdalae
+ left amygdala
+ tone of voice - hostile
+ left amygfala
+ faces - hostile
- Both sides are threat sensors
- Fires most: stranger over friends, other races over same race, fearful face over happy, angry over friendly
- linked to all major parts of the brain
- not adaptive in our training. When it fires, shuts down emotions, decision making, attention, thinking, working memory.
- enough firing, inhibit long-term ability to learn
- The amygdalae inhibits learning.

Teambuilding deactivates amygdalae
- makes you "more comfortable"
- reduces the "they are going to kill me" reflex.

Training about safety (wow! no kidding!)

Social interaction - brain most lights up.
- Process sight: Visual Cortex.
- Decoding Words: Wenicke's Area.
- Encoding Words: Broca's Area

Your brain is never more engaged than when you are explaining to others. Widespread activity.
- Daniel Goleman Social Intelligence.

Silly Sports / Goofy Games
- Hagoo - make the others smile

Kinesthetic Symbols
- Engage multiple Intelligences (get to everyone's intelligences)
- Engage multiple memory systems - incl. episodic
- Place content in more places in brain
- An exponential increase in the probability of recall.
+ Content in the verbal cortex, moror cortex and visual cortex

5 principles of brain friendly training (I didn't remember it in this order)
- safety - shut up the Amygbala (threat response). Teambuilding, fun context.
- emotional - James McGaugh. Anything followed by emotion better remembered.
- nourishment - neurons. Major muscle movement.
- social - lit brain. Structures
- info processing
+ novelty, predictability Too much predictability - boring. Too much novelty - chaos.

Within the Structure - novelty.


Julie Berlin said...

I know this is a long shot, but by chance do you still have the notetaking workbook he gave you? If so, is there anyway you can send me a copy? I'd greatly appreciate your help.

Wendy said...

That is long gone, I'm afraid. The research has advanced since that training. Julie Dirksen is about to release an instructional design course based on current neuroscience and behavioral science research. Check at this link for more info - (full disclosure - I've been serving as project manager on Design Better Learning). I'd also check out Will Thalheimer's work for more info. Hope this helps.