The human brain acts like a supercomputer. Brain-based learning uses the newest neuroscience research to help people learn better.1 This method looks at neuroplasticity, which means the brain can change and make new connections to improve learning.

To make teaching more effective, it’s important to know how the brain works. This includes how it takes in, processes, and remembers information. Teachers can then create lessons and classrooms that help students be more interested, involved, and remember what they learn better.

Key Takeaways

  • Brain-based learning uses new findings in neuroscience for better teaching.
  • Neuroplasticity helps the brain make new connections, a big idea in this teaching approach.
  • Learning about the brain’s information processing and memory can improve teaching experiences.
  • These strategies are meant to make students more motivated, engaged, and thoughtful.
  • Using these techniques can help students do better in school and grow emotionally.

What is Brain-Based Learning?

Brain-based learning focuses on how the brain naturally takes in and keeps information. This means teaching in a way that matches what we know about the brain.2 It looks at how students grow mentally, emotionally, and how their surroundings affect learning. The idea started getting popular in the 1990s when scientists started using brain science in education.3

Definition and Background

Brain-based learning matches teaching with how the brain works.2 It stresses the need to use teaching tactics that agree with fresh brain research. This includes studying brain plasticity, how we think, and what makes students really pay attention and remember what they’ve learned.

Neuroscience and Learning

Neuroscience gives us insights on how the brain processes and remembers info.2 It tells us the brain can change and create new connections. Plus, active learning helps it grow these connections, which helps us remember more. It’s also shown that the brain works as a team, using both sides for different tasks.2

Key Principles of Brain-Based Learning

Dr. Bobbi Hansen outlines four main rules for teaching based on the brain.2 They are: Making learning full of new activities that need you to join in (Experience); Creating a learning environment that makes you feel good, safe, and ready to learn (Flow); Using methods that help you remember better, like actually doing what you’re learning (Sticky learning); And picking and using the best teaching ideas for the students you have (Brain-informed).

Brain-Based Learning PrinciplesDescription
ExperienceNew activities need hands-on efforts to change the brain.2
FlowA good, safe, and focused place is best for learning.2
“Sticky” LearningDoing things you’re learning helps you remember more.2
Brain-Informed TeachingUsing strategies that suit the students you have.2

Grasping those principles helps educators make lessons and spaces that work with how our brains tick. So, students get more into learning, remember better, and enjoy it more.2

Benefits of Brain-Based Learning Strategies

Research proves that students learn best in brain-based settings. They understand and remember information more than in traditional classes.2 This type of learning matches how our brains naturally work. It helps students do better in school, remember things longer, and improves skills like staying strong and staying motivated.2,4,5

Improved Retention and Academic Performance

Brain-based learning is great for making memories stick. It gets students involved, makes learning personal, and uses many senses. With this approach, students can remember what they learn for a long time.2 Unlike just memorizing facts, which tends to get forgotten quickly.2

Enhanced Long-Term Memory

Brain-based learning isn’t just about getting good grades. It also helps students grow as people. It makes the classroom a positive place, lowers stress, and keeps students interested. These things boost their willpower, keep them motivated, and help them think they can get better over time.2

Development of Social-Emotional Skills

Experts like Geoffrey Caine and Renate Nummela Caine find brain-based learning makes a big difference. It helps more with understanding and remembering than traditional teaching.4 Meanwhile, studies by Katherine Weare show that focusing on the mind with exercises like mindfulness can change the brain. This improves how children and teens think and feel.4 Other research shows that moving during learning can boost students’ interest, make them work harder, and come up with more new ideas.4

Using strategies from brain-based learning helps students in many ways. They learn faster, remember better, and get more into learning.5 These methods keep students excited and wanting to learn, as they remember things more easily, and get better at solving problems and being creative. All of this adds up to better grades and a more successful time in school.5

Create a Positive Classroom Climate

Studies have shown that feeling like you belong and your mood affect learning a lot.4 Teachers can make a big difference by making their classrooms positive and supportive. This helps lower stress and worry, which can hurt learning. Some ways to do this are through icebreakers, morning meetings, saying hello every day, and doing fun activities together.

Building a Supportive Learning Environment

Having a strong classroom community is key to a happy learning space. Teachers can use many activities to build this community, like icebreakers and team exercises. The age and needs of their students decide what they do.

Such activities let students and teachers bond. This builds a happy atmosphere where everyone wants to learn more.6

Classroom Community Activities

Icebreakers, morning meetings, and team activities are great for a happy classroom.6 They make students form strong bonds with each other and their teacher. This makes learning more fun and engaging.4

Teach Mindfulness and Stress-Reduction Techniques

Importance of Mindfulness in Learning

Recent research shows how powerful mindfulness is for our brains. Mindfulness meditation actually changes our brain for the better, helping us think and feel more clearly.4 By sharing these techniques, teachers can boost students’ ability to manage emotions and stay focused, which is great for learning.

Mindfulness Activities for the Classroom

Bringing mindfulness into the classroom is easy, and it only takes a few minutes each day. There are lots of fun activities. Students can try deep breathing, imagine calming scenes, focus on what they can see, hear or feel, or simply sit quietly. Websites like Calm Classroom, Calm, Child Mind Institute, and Headspace for Educators offer lots of cool ideas for all ages. These activities work whether students are in class or online.

mindfulness activities

Incorporate Movement and Physical Activity

Research shows moving helps with learning.7 Short bursts of activity boost student drive, work quality, and creative thinking.7 By moving, teachers can improve learning. This can be by acting out lessons, walking while discussing, or showing answers with gestures.

Benefits of Movement for Learning

Brain-based learning notes that students learn differently. Some learn best by doing and moving.7 To help these students, activities like hands-on projects are key. These activities boost everyone’s understanding.7 Things like pretending, building, and using big and small movements in lessons work for all.

Kinesthetic Learning Strategies

Studies find that kids who exercise before school pay better attention.7 Regular exercise boosts memory and focus. It also helps kids feel more positive.7 A study found that walking fast a few times a week can help older people think more clearly. This is because it grows parts of the brain linked to thinking.7 Short lessons with breaks for movement help kids learn more. They also enjoy learning when lessons include hands-on activities.7

Differentiate Instruction

Brain-based learning tells us students learn in different ways. Some like seeing info, others prefer hearing it, and some do best by doing.

Teachers can make lessons better for all by mixing visual, auditory, and hands-on learning. They also give students ways to show what they know that suit them best.4

Addressing Different Learning Styles

Studies show our brains work better when we use our senses together.4 So, lessons that combine what you see, hear, and do can help you remember things more.4 Things like doing experiments, watching videos, hearing stories, and acting out ideas all help.

Multi-Sensory Learning Approaches

Customizing lessons with different ways to see, hear, and touch can make learning stick better.4 This fits with the idea that we all learn differently. So, teaching in many ways helps every student do their best.4

Provide Authentic, Real-World Learning Experiences

Brain-based learning is all about linking new knowledge to what students already know and care about.8 This way, the brain finds it easier to remember and understand things.8 Doing activities that mirror real life, like chatting with authors or solving actual issues, makes students more excited and tuned into their lessons.9 At Key Largo School, they focus on making learning interactive and use a lot of tech. This happens in all grade levels.9

When you tackle real-world problems with the knowledge you’ve picked up, learning becomes much sweeter.8 You feel more connected to what you’re studying.8 This not only lights the fire for learning but also helps you remember what you’ve learned better and do better in school.9

Activities like reaching out to authors or making cool videos let students use what they know in a hands-on way.8 Learning feels more real, this way.8 At Key Largo, they give sixth graders laptops. This shows they’re serious about letting students dive into real-world projects with the right tools.9

Incorporate Experiential Learning

When learning, being active helps our brains remember things better. Things like doing experiments, simulating events, and learning through projects help a lot. They let us use the brain’s way of learning from doing and seeing things for ourselves. This is why activities that involve solving real-life problems, investigating topics, and being creative stick in our minds more.10

Hands-On Learning Activities

Activities where you use your hands and move around are great for learning. Think of things like experiments, making models, and acting out history. These activities help us remember better by making strong brain connections. This stores what we learn in our memory for a long time.

Project-Based Learning Examples

With project-based learning, students get to solve real problems using what they’ve learned. This approach helps all parts of the brain, boosting critical thinking and linking new knowledge with what we know. For instance, making a blog or vlog, coming up with green solutions, or creating a historical documentary are great project options.11

Effective Learning Strategies Based on Brain Science

Experience and Active Engagement

New experiences reshape our brains only when we actively take part in them.2 Hands-on learning methods like experiments or project work are key. They let us learn directly by doing and interacting. Because of this, students remember more and do better in school.2

Creating a “Flow State”

Brain-based learning focuses on creating a “flow state.” This state makes students feel calm, comfortable, and focused.1 In such a state, we are less stressed and learn better.1 To achieve this, teachers can make classrooms positive and challenging. They can also teach mindfulness. These actions help students learn more.

“Sticky” Learning Techniques

Brain-based learning supports “sticky” teaching to help us remember more.2 This approach includes doing things, having students lead, and using many senses.21 Such techniques make learning more emotional and engaging. As a result, lessons stay in our minds longer. Teachers can use these methods to ensure their lessons are memorable.

Brain-Informed Teaching Practices

Teaching with the brain in mind means finding what works for your students. It’s about trying different strategies, listening to feedback, and changing things up.2 This way, all students feel engaged and empowered. Taking a student-centered approach helps make learning both meaningful and impactful.

Identifying Strategies for Your Students

Brain-based learning has some core ideas, but how you use them changes as students grow.2 Educators need to know how students’ minds and feelings develop. This lets them create lessons that match where students are at. It’s important to keep adjusting your teaching to fit your students’ changing needs.

Adapting Approaches for Different Ages

Students’ brains and emotions change as they get older.2 Teachers who understand these changes can make lessons that really grab students’ attention and keep them learning. Adapting and improving your teaching over time is key to success.

Combining Written and Verbal Information

Brain-based learning says using lots of senses helps us learn better. When teachers use both writing and talking to teach, students learn more. This multimodal approach helps students remember things better than just hearing or seeing it once2.

Multimodal Instruction

Teaching in many ways—like talking, reading, and using videos—helps students keep information in their brains longer. When our senses all learn the same thing, our brain makes stronger connections. This way, we remember more over time. Using many ways to teach is a top way to help learning stick and do well in school3.2

Boosting Retention Through Multiple Channels

Combining writing and talking helps our brains remember things longer. With many ways to learn, our brain saves information better. That’s why mixing how we teach helps students remember and know the material well. This multisensory learning method based on neuroscience really improves memory retention and grades2.

multimodal learning

Building a Brain-Based Curriculum

Creating a curriculum using brain-based principles is all about the student. It looks at teaching, learning spaces, tests, and how students get involved.1 This way, teachers can make sure what they teach sticks in students’ minds. They also help students do better in school and grow important thinking and emotional skills.24

Every student is different. So, a good curriculum has to use many ways to teach.1 It mixes seeing, hearing, moving, and working with others in lessons. And it makes sure the classroom is a friendly, helpful place. This helps students to be more interested and do well in their studies.4

Building a curriculum based on the brain means knowing how the brain learns.1 Using the latest research on the brain, teachers can plan lessons that work really well. They help students not only do good in school but also grow important skills for life.24

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