Week 12

Essential question: What is brain-based learning and how can it inform problem-based learning and differentiation?


         One might asked what is brain-based learning? According to edglossary.org, brain-based learning refers to the latest research on how the brain learns, including factors such as how students learn differently as they grow, age, and mature socially, emotionally, and cognitively. To me, brain-based learning is knowing how our brain works in relationship to learning. Each student is unique and learns in a different way. As a teacher, I think it is up to me to try to find out how best that student learns. I want to know students’ learning styles, their interests, about what is going on in their lives. I think this all relates to how a student will perform in your class.

Our brains are so unique, and you as a teacher need to find out about your students’ learning styles, including which side of a student’s brain is dominant. In the beginning of the year, I usually give students a learning style and left brain/right brain survey. The student then can see which side of her or his brain is dominant and which learning style will work better. This all relates to brain-based learning and differentiation. Once I know a student’s learning style and which side of her or his brain is dominant, I can plan activities that will relate to that student’s strengths and interests. It is also good for the student to know which learning style is best and which side of her or his brain is dominant, if one side is dominant.

According to the Funderstanding website, brain-based learning does have an impact on education. For strong curriculum, teachers must design learning around students’ interests. The site instructs teachers to educate students in teams and around real problems outside of school. Looking at assessment, students should be able to assess themselves, beginning with understanding their learning styles and preferences. This way, they can reflect on their learning in a useful context and be better able to move forward.

         I found the book Teaching with the Brain in Mind to be very interesting. As the author points out, “[r]esearchers have found that we can only take in three to seven chunks of information before we simply overload and miss new data” (p. 42). This makes me think back to college when I had classes that were like two hours long. No wonder I couldn’t remember anything after I left. My brain was overloaded! I also found interesting how direct instruction should be no more than 15 minutes for middle school students or 18 minutes for adults. Our brains need time to process the information given.

This has given me much to think about in terms of how I will teach to my students. I know that I should have brain breaks or quiet time so the brain can process what was learned. I also know that I shouldn’t try to give too much new information to students, because they will likely not remember it. I know that brain-based learning, along with problem-based learning and differentiation, works best for students, and I am going to try to teach to that level of learning so my students can get the most out of my teaching and remember what was taught. After all, I want the best for my students and want them to enjoy learning as much as I do.




Brain-Based Learning Definition. (2013). Retrieved April 11, 2015, from http://edglossary.org/brain-based-learning/.

Brain-based Learning. (2015). Retrieved April 11, 2015, from http://www.funderstanding.com/theory/brain-based-learning/brain-based-learning/.

Cherry, K. (2015). Left Brain vs Right Brain Dominance. Retrieved April 11, 2015, from http://psychology.about.com/od/ cognitivepsychology/a/left-brain-right-brain.htm.


Jensen, Eric. Teaching with the Brain in Mind (2nd Edition). Alexandria, VA, USA: Association for Supervision & Curriculum Development (ASCD), 2005. ProQuest ebrary. Web. 5 April 2015. Retreived from: http://egandb.uas.alaska.edu:2081/lib/ uasoutheast/reader.action?ppg=6&docID=10089220&tm=1428258945648

Jensen, Eric. Teaching with Poverty in Mind : What Being Poor Does to Kids’ Brains and What Schools Can Do About It. Alexandria, VA, USA: Association for Supervision & Curriculum Development (ASCD), 2009. ProQuest ebrary. Web. 5 April 2015. Retrieved from: http://egandb.uas.alaska.edu:2081/lib/ uasoutheast/reader.action?ppg=28&docID=10375878&tm=1428259489468.

8 thoughts on “Week 12

  1. I too found it very interesting that the brain can only take in three to seven chunks of information before it simply overloads. I think my brain tends to be on the low side of the spectrum. As I was reading this week’s assigned reading especially about this part and how our brains have built in “surge protectors” I found myself experiencing system overload. Perhaps next week I need to break up the reading or incorporate breaks. I have college classes that consist of weekly 3 hour lectures and then I have this class via Twitter and I have to say I think I am retaining and gaining more from the Twitter style class.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I agree that was a lot of reading. I think I need to do that as well. I was just trying to get though the reading so I kept going until I was too tired to go anymore. I need to give myself more breaks especially with a lot of reading.


    2. I agree with Thomas and Cindy, talk about the experience backing the science this week 🙂 I totally went into system overload with the readings myself. It makes me wonder if technology is influencing those numbers one way or another. I sense myself checking out sooner than I did in college, but is it possibly because I am exposed to exponentially more information?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I think so because we are getting a lot of information and our brains need time to process what we are learning. I have to force myself at times to concentrate especially when I am reading the long assignments.


  2. I would love to see your right brain/left brain survey that you give at the beginning of the year. I saw that information on pg. 42. I agree. Those long classes are just too much. It’s our way of trying to cram. Even in elementary school, we have blocks of time for subjects but hopefully the teacher is only instructing for a short period of that time. Repetition is also so very important. Introducing a brand new word should be used throughout the week. Excitement around it should also be there. If the kids get excited about it then they will begin to hunt for the word or even new words that they have learned in the past.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Familiarity with concepts speeds processing! So obviously if you have a lot of background in a topic, you can take in new information more easily – because much of the information may not really be “new”.

    For my own “brain breaks” I make notes as I read. Highlighting, organizing information – all of this facilitates my own visual preference for learning – but it also helps me to assimilate information more quickly. My father called this “skinnying” a chapter (i.e. “Did you skinny those Western Civ chapters before you completely blew the test?”). Ironically – undergrad survey classes are probably the most horrible offenders in terms of cognitive load. –

    Well that was stream of consciousness at its best.

    My point is – to get back to it – that interacting with the text through outlining (skinnying) a chapter or highlighting and making notes in a margin of a book can help us to assimilate concepts.


    Liked by 1 person

  4. I am also curious about what you might do in response to left-brain/right-brain differences. Do you have any strategies for right-brain dominant students? I am always interested about this, being left-handed (myself) and always noting which of my students are also left-handed. I’ve found that it can be a blessing and a curse, but I don’t personally have any differentiation strategies for those that are right-brain dominant.


    1. On the survey if gives thing for students and teacher to do with students that are left brain/right brain dominant. Then the students can see what they can do to help with their learning.


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