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Teaching with the Brain in Mind by Eric Johnson

Page history last edited by Jayson Yeagley 12 years, 4 months ago

Understanding basic brain research as it applies to learning is important for teachers. Knowledge of the brain can help teachers prepare instruction that will improve student learning. The following ten concepts have been adapted from the book.


1. The brain receives more than 80% of its information from visual systems. Teachers need to provide written directions, diagrams, notes, etc. to accompany oral instruction (p.42). 

2. In order to begin the learning process, the brain must have stimulus. (p.50) 
Simple ideas for “Jump Starting” your lessons should include questions, music, and student directed lesson introductions. Providing a strong contrast from the previous learning will gain student attention (p.46-47). 

3. The length of student attention time directly correlates to the age (Example, 12 minutes for a 12 year old.). 
The maximum length of lecture for adults should be 25 minutes. The time of teacher-directed lesson presentations should be limited to the age of the student (p.49). 

4. The brain needs processing time to sort and store information (25 minutes for every 10-15 minutes of instruction). . 
Students need “down time to imprint” so the brain can link information through association, discussion, group work. Teacher- directed lessons should be followed by student application of content through writing, reading, discussion, reflections etc. (p. 15). 

5. 40% to 70% of the brain’s wiring is influenced by the student’s learning environment. Remove stress from the classroom by promoting interaction, sharing lesson objectives and assessment methods with the students in advance (p.30).

6. Only 5 % of eleven year olds, 25% of fourteen year olds and 50% of adults have formal reasoning skills. Promote problem solving by: posing problems, modeling problem solving and involving students through role playing, discussion and challenging thinking (p.74). 

7. Existing neurons in the brain connect to new neurons when learning has meaning. The greater number of links in the brain, the more firmly the information is hard wired and therefore remembered. Make learning relevant and active. Connect content to students’ lives and the real world by using K-W-L activities, integrated units and sharing of the teacher’s own experiences (p.13). 

8. The brain works to form quick patterns when gaining input in order to give meaning to information. Create connections when information is introduced - use graphics, colors, themes, webs and “chunks” of information (p.92). 

9. Emotions drive the attention of the learner and help to create meaning as chemicals are transmitted to all parts of the body. Engage students’ emotions through sharing, challenging discussions, games and role playing. Model enthusiasm for teaching (p.73). 

10. The brain is capable of processing 10 to the 27th power of data per second. Give opportunities for multiple answers through the use of higher level questions ( p.46). 


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