This Is Your Brain on Awesome, Part 2

Tuesday, I introduced you to the first five of Louis Cozolino’s “Nine Things Educators Need to Know About the Brain.” An article excerpted from Cozolino’s book, The Social Neuroscience of Education: Optimizing Attachment and Learning in the Classroom, appeared at the Greater Good blog. Here, then, are the remaining four insights from Cozolino:

6. The brain has a short attention span. It needs repetition and multiple-channel processing for deeper learning to occur. “Because our brains evolved to remain vigilant to a constantly changing environment, we learn better in brief intervals… We have an amazing capacity for visual memory, and written or spoken information paired with visual information results in better recall. There is a greater likelihood that learning will generalize outside the classroom if it is organized across sensory, physical, emotional and cognitive networks.”

7. Fear and stress impair learning. “Teachers can use their warmth, empathic caring, and positive regard to create a state of mind that decreases fear and increases neuroplasticity and learning.

8. We analyze others but not ourselves: the primacy of projection. Try simple exercises that help your students understand what they think and feel about their friends and classmates. Then point out to them how they can use these same exercises on themselves.

9. Learning is enhanced by emphasizing the big picture—and then allowing students to discover the details for themselves. “We are born to explore, and teachers who make use of that will probably find more success in the classroom.”

While some of this may strike you as obvious, I urge you to check out Cozolino’s book in its entirety. There’s much more meat to digest in his collection of findings. Meanwhile, if you would like to add something or comment on any of the nine ideas we’ve looked at this week, please do so. Your input matters!

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