Choose either the subject of Brain Research or one of the Theories of Development discussed in Chapter 4.Â Reflect on how this information will influence you as a teacher of young children.Â
Include 2 additional INET articles on your chosen subject.
A good education makes its demands clearly known. It includes effort to ensure that what is being learned makes sense to the learner and to generate an understanding of both its utilitarian and intrinsic value. It assumes all learners can and will succeed. It provides a series of well-structured steps relevant to the competence and background knowledge of students. It provides a maximum of explicit guidance and modeling. It accommodates variation in pace and pays special attention to those who don't get it first time. It searches for strategies to which students will respond.
Today's students are entering workplaces and communities with tougher requirements than ever before. They are entering a world of rapid change which needs citizens who can think critically and strategically to solve problems. They are challenged by vast stores of information taken from numerous sources and different perspectives, from which they need to, make meaning. They must understand systems in diverse contexts, and collaborate locally and around the globe.
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These needs for the 21st century contrast sharply with the discrete, low-level skills, content, and assessment methods that traditional ways of learning favor. The new requirements for learning are incompatible with instruction that assumes the teacher is the information giver and the student a passive recipient.
Research into what makes effective teaching and learning and teachers' reflecting on their own learning suggest that there are significant reasons to change how we educate children if we wish to produce the adaptable, problem-solving, communicative students needed for the future.
Evidence clearly indicates that many teachers use teaching strategies that do not promote learning. Here are some of my thoughts on how I would choose to develop young students brains from pre-K through 3rd grade.
As a good instructor, I must use methodologies that enable children to orchestrate the learner's (child's) experience so that all aspects of their brain's operation are addressed.
I need to be aware of the whole child such as the need for stress management, nutrition, exercise, and relaxation and do what I can to build these into the learning process. In addition, because there can be as much as a five year socio-psychological gap between any two children of the same age; I know that expecting equal achievement on the basis of chronological age is unsuitable.
My instructional setting needs to provide both familiarity and stability. At the same time, I have to promote and to satisfy the brain's curiosity and hunger for discovery and challenge. Lessons need to be exciting, meaningful, and offer students abundant choices. The more similar to real life situations, the better the outcome.
Students, particularly in this age group, are modeling; perceiving or creating meanings continuously in one way or another. Of course, given the limited amount of time I have with them, I can only hope to influence the direction that their learning takes. Although the institution (State, church, etc.) proscribe much of what students are to learn, ideally, I can display the information in a way that allows the brain to extract patterns, rather than try to impose structured or my own unique patterns on the students.
Since it is impossible to separate the cognitive from the affective domain, the emotional environment of the learners' environment must be monitored on a consistent basis, using effective communication strategies and allowing for student and teacher reflection on abstract cognitive processes.
Children (and even adults) have difficulty learning important aspects in part, or in whole are overlooked. I must help build social consideration and logical skills over time since learning is both cumulative and a on-going journey. Since "wholes" are comprised of "parts", they cannot be easily separated and I need to remember not to instruct concepts in a vacuum.
I think that much of the effort expended in teaching and studying is squandered because students are not adequately trained to think critically and process their experiences. 'Active processing' gives even pre-K students the opportunity to review how and what they have learned so that they begin to assume responsibility for their own learning and then a self-aware development of personal meaning for each learning.
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I recall (no pun intended) that most of my teachers were proficient at teaching strategies that emphasized memorization. Although sometimes memorization is important and useful, I feel teaching devoted to memorization does not expedite the transmission of learning and generally interferes with the succeeding development of understanding. I think that if I can promote a personalization / individualization of the learning experience, I will help promote the effective functioning of the student's brain.
In the military, we talk about embedding: establishing a one-to-one relationship. The embedding process is co-dependent on all of the other principles. I will invoke spatial learning, for example through experiential learning. My use of a great deal of real-life activity, including classroom demonstrations, projects, field trips, visual imagery will help. Examples of best performance, stories, metaphor, drama, and interaction of and between different subjects will help make the learning real.
So, I believe strongly that my teaching should be multifaceted and allow all students to express visual, tangible, emotional, and hearing preferences. To accomplish these goals, I need to recognize and support the need for fundamental change in schools themselves - to account for advances in brain research vis-à-vis structured learning and positive outcomes.