28 Aug 2018

GETTING TO KNOW THE BRAIN OF STUDENTS

During early school years, for example, the brain is focused on getting to grips with the world around us. Memories and understanding grow when new information can be linked to things we already know. Homework that helps with this recognition can build literacy and numeracy skills.

When students reach adolescence, they become more independent and self-directed. There is shift away from rote memorization and single, correct responses. Learning goals are more likely to focus on reading for content and comprehension, revising, report writing, solving problems, investigating and independent or group work.

Well-designed homework provides multiple ways for students to engage with what they are learning. They will then be able to use the facts they acquire to be creative and solve problems in class.

Learning an effective, flexible approach like this, particularly one that integrates classroom management with effective teaching techniques, can give new teachers a tremendous advantage in their ability to deal with the stresses of the teaching profession.

Whole Brain Teaching is intended to be flexible, adaptable by any teacher to their own teaching methods. It is based on seven core components, referred to as The Big Seven. The speed with which a teacher introduces these to a class depends on the comfort level of the teacher and the students. Never try to add something new until both the teacher and the class are ready to move on. Only a few of these components will be discussed here.

Teachers could tap into teenagers’ risky mindset to help them do better at school. Taking risks and choosing difficult tasks is one of the benefits associated with having a growth mindset. If teachers guide this risky behavior by encouraging pupils to take chances in a safe and secure environment, the students could challenge themselves more.

One of the biggest barriers to taking risks is a fear of failure. This can be overcome by facilitating an environment where students know mistakes won’t be mocked or criticized.

Computer-assisted learning cannot replace good teaching: it is only from teachers that students can experience rich interactive learning and build conceptual understanding.

But using online learning games for homework tasks lets students gain the necessary level of factual knowledge and learn procedures that need to be memorized. This allows them to then progress in class to the richer subject content. Relieving teachers of essentially being drill directors means students get more class time to understand concepts and apply what they have learned.

Online games also help students to build skills to an automatic level at an appropriate pace for them. For example, games could be helpful in learning multiplication tables, spelling, remembering dates, names of rivers, foreign language learning, or getting to grips with grammar rules. Well-designed online skill games evaluate each student’s ability as the basis for the questions or problems given.

In later school years homework is more likely to focus on reading for understanding, revising and launching investigations.

When students know that the effort they put into homework will enhance their participation and enjoyment of classroom learning, they become more motivated. Pupils also put more effort into schoolwork or homework when they are engaged in something that is relevant to their studies.

For instance, if the class is studying how to calculate area, good maths homework may be to get students to mea­sure parts of their room they want to change (e.g. walls to paint, windows for curtains, doors to cover with cork board for posting photos etc.). Those who complete the homework will be able to make sketches to scale of their rooms on graph paper and determine area. Those who don’t do the homework will not be prepared for this activity and will have to solve less interesting worksheet problems.

 

Article by: Busayo Tomoh

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