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I'd love to know more about what the research says on how the brain works when learning is happening. I've been using some simple examples with my students that I know, and I'm finding it really effective in motivating my students, not to mention the fact that they find learning about how they learn fascinating.

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Hi David, welcome to the group!

How the brain goes through the learning process depends in part on what/how they are learning. It is fascinating!! For example, when reading the eyes register the words to the Thalamus which sends the electrical impulses to the Visual Cortex. From there the Angular Gyrus translates the written words into SOUNDS of words! Next it continues to Wernicke's area for comprehension of words, finally Broca's area for processing of syntax. (I'm cheating by looking at a book right now). But listening to text activates different parts of the brain!

That's too complex for my class. So I explained how learning actually changes the structure of the brain by creating new connections between neurons. I made a 'class brain' to demonstrate how what we learn makes those connections in our brains. I blogged about it and added pictures here : Metacognition Lesson. We're still adding to our 'brain' both figuratively and literally.

I run "brainworks" sessions with students where they investigate model brains; view animated computer graphics; label a diagram; dissect a sheep's brain and construct model brains.  These multi-sensory rehearsal strategies  assist in developing multiple neural pathways so that retention and retrieval of the information/knowledge is more efficient.  We also explore the role of emotions in learning; the formation of memories and how information is processed.  Some useful references are How the Brain Learns by David Sousa; Teaching with the Brain in Mind by Eric Jensen and Learning in the Emotional Rooms by John Joseph.  There are, of course, many more but these three make a really good starting point

Hi David -- There's a very new book out for educators about Educational Neuroscience called "Mind, Brain, and Education" [] edited by David de Sousa. In Canada it's available through Nelson. The chapters are short and you don't need a Master's in Biology to read it, although a map of brain regions will help a bit.



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