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The Student Brain

The Student Brain

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This workshop allows faculty to explore how the student brain processes information, how experience and learning produce changes in the brain, and how emotion and motivation states impact learning. Faculty are encouraged to discuss how their teaching methods currently impact the brain and what strategies could be implemented to enhance the processes that need to take place for learning to occur. Faculty participants acquire applicable brain-friendly teaching strategies that can be implemented right away.

For more information or to discuss how this information might apply to your students, please contact Lynn Lease, 419-998-3102, @llease, llease@unoh.edu

This workshop allows faculty to explore how the student brain processes information, how experience and learning produce changes in the brain, and how emotion and motivation states impact learning. Faculty are encouraged to discuss how their teaching methods currently impact the brain and what strategies could be implemented to enhance the processes that need to take place for learning to occur. Faculty participants acquire applicable brain-friendly teaching strategies that can be implemented right away.

For more information or to discuss how this information might apply to your students, please contact Lynn Lease, 419-998-3102, @llease, llease@unoh.edu

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The Student Brain

  1. 1. The Student Brain College of Applied Technologies Workshop Sponsored by the Center for Educational Excellence Presented by Randy Blank, Department Chair - Psychology Lynn Lease, Director - Center for Educational Excellence
  2. 2. True or False...? • We only use ten percent of our brains. • Everything important is determined by the age of three. • The brain remembers everything it has ever experienced; forgetting is an absence of recall ability. • You can't change your brain.
  3. 3. Brains are adaptable and flexible • We are born with dependent but adaptable and flexible brains... • http://tinyurl.com/hgxzoxa
  4. 4. We want to move from this...to this... Image Source: https://teachertwoteacher.wordpress.com/2010/03/05/making-connections-brain-research-and-esol/
  5. 5. And from this...to this... Image Source: https://visiblechild.wordpress.com/2014/12/01/oh-toddlerhood-why-dont-we-see-you-coming/
  6. 6. Our Goals for Today: • list 3 levels of memory • describe how learning occurs in each of these 3 levels • identify specific learning techniques supported by the physiology of learning to use in the classroom
  7. 7. Three Stage Model of Memory Image Source: https://www.studyblue.com/notes/note/n/chapter-8/deck/748572
  8. 8. Image Source: http://www.slideshare.net/08655082/1-atkinson-shiffrin-model-of-memory
  9. 9. What gets our students' attention?
  10. 10. The Role of Meaning and Attention
  11. 11. Image Source: http://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2014/05/10-things-you-cant-unsee-and-what-that-says-about-your-brain/361335/
  12. 12. Image Source: http://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2014/05/10-things-you-cant-unsee-and-what-that-says-about-your-brain/361335/
  13. 13. The Role of Emotion ImageSource:http://actualfreedom.com.au/library/topics/brainschemes.htm
  14. 14. Instructional Strategies to activate Sensory Memory • Settling In Period – ATTENTION SPAN?? • Anticipatory Set • Activate Prior Schema • Set the tone – expectations • Time to process . . . ImageSource:https://www.studyblue.com/notes/note/n/chapter- 8/deck/748572
  15. 15. Short Term (Working) Memory • Where most of our everyday memory chores are processed • Provides temporary storage of just the right amount of information without overloading itself • But has limitations... Image Source: http://www.dreamstime.com/photos-images/pencil-notepad.html
  16. 16. Short Term (Working) Memory • Can only retain information for about 15-25 seconds • Auditory attention is highly selective • Is also limited in capacity • Try this STM test...Image Source: http://www.investorsinsight.com/cfs- filesystemfile.ashx/__key/CommunityServer.Blogs.Components.WeblogFiles /thoughts_5F00_from_5F00_the_5F00_frontline/image001_5F00_760AE96 5.gif
  17. 17. Role of Meaning and STM • Chunking--serves to extend information within STM • Recoding--serves as a strategy for later transfer to LTM by elaborating on the information • Elaborative rehearsal hooks new information into something already stored in LTMImage Source: https://s-media-cache- ak0.pinimg.com/originals/7e/bf/15/7ebf15bc1a3af737d875b9cf020e9a31.jpg
  18. 18. Role of Emotion and STM • Emotions stamp extra vividness onto our memories • But use with caution... Image Source: http://wakingupinwonder.com/pixar-inside-out/
  19. 19. Role of Emotion and STM • Beware of the stress response (fight-or-flight) • Perceived threats take precedence over other strands of thought • Emotion dominates over rational thinking in these circumstances! Image Source: http://wallpapersboom.net/inside-out/
  20. 20. Instructional Strategies to activate Short-Term Memory ImageSource:https://www.studyblue.com/notes/note/n/chapter- 8/deck/748572 • Cognitive Load • Chunking (the dash in the SS#) • Discuss the relevance • Activate prior schema – circle back • Emotion – rapport, environment • Time to process . . .
  21. 21. Long Term Memory • Information stored in LTM is relatively permanent • Is "reconstructed" and not necessarily accurate • Capacity estimated to involve "a million billion" synaptic connections Image Source: http://psychology.about.com/od/memory/f/long-term-memory.htm
  22. 22. Long Term Memory • Two major types of LTM Image Source: http://163.178.103.176/Fisiologia/neurofisiologia/Objetivo_7/Transparencies5.htm
  23. 23. Elaborative Rehearsal, Meaning, and Retention in LTM • A single exposure to new material won't likely be sufficient for consolidation • Consolidation is enhanced by rehearsal • The more fully we process information over time, the more connections we make, and the better memory will be Image Source: http://www.nature.com/nrn/journal/v6/n2/fig_tab/nrn1607_F1.html
  24. 24. Instructional Strategies to activate Long-Term Memory ImageSource:https://www.studyblue.com/notes/note/n/chapter- 8/deck/748572 • TIME & PRACTICE • Formative assessments • Low stakes practice • Self-checks • Pair and Share – Restate – Offer examples • Time to process . . .
  25. 25. Call to Action!
  26. 26. Available for checkout in the CEE - contact Lynn
  27. 27. Coming up Next . . .

Editor's Notes

  • These are all false. 
  • Important Quote: "The plan is simple. Instead of hardwiring everything...let life experience wire up the rest of the brain..."
    Important Quote: "It's not about growing new cells...instead, the secrete lies in how those cells are connected".  "As we grow and learn new skills, we reduce the number of connections in our brain--in favor of focusing on a smaller number of stronger connections."
  • From a brain-based perspective, "...learning involves forming and strengthening neural connections and networks" (Schunk, 2012). When we teach, we are quite literally changing the physical structure of our students' brains. As teachers, our goal is to provide learning experiences that facilitate this process as efficiently as possible--the way the brain was designed to learn.
    Graphic shows the difference between a non-stimulated and a stimulated neuron--more dendrites provide more places for other neurons to connect with it--more "hooks" for deeper, richer learning.
  • Stimulated neurons branching out to other stimulated neurons to create dense networks of learning and memory brought about through experience.
  • This is a functional model of memory--it does not imply actual structures in the brain.
  • Sensory memory (sometimes called the sensory register) is the first step in information processing. Only holds information for fractions of seconds--just long enough to get our attention and decide what to do with the information.
    Can be described as a sieve that screens out most information (up to 99% of it by some estimates).
    If we don't pay attention to the information it doesn't even get to short term memory.  Much of what we call "forgetting" isn't forgetting at all--it was simply never recorded.

  • A group of brain structures known as the reticular activating system (RAS) influence what we pay attention to and for how long.
    Key Point: The RAS gives priority to novelty, intensity, and movement
  • Key Point: "The assignment of meaning to incoming stimuli depends on prior knowledge and on what we expect to see" (p. 113)
    (use the B or 13 example here)
  • Key Point: "You cannot reconstruct or reactivate a neural circuit or network if it was never activated in the first place" (p. 118).
    Consider students in a classroom who are confronted with information that doesn't match anything they've previously experienced...
    (use Dalmatian example here)
  • Key Point: The pathways to the parts of the brain that process fear and anger are shorter than the pathways to the cortex (the "thinking" part of the brain). "The brain is biologically programmed to attend to information that has a strong emotional content first" (p. 120)
    Emotions play an important role in what we pay attention too--but use carefully!

  • Orienting strategies should attempt to set expectations and build upon prior knowledge; should incorporate novelty, intensity, and movement; and evoke moderately intense positive emotions
  • Sometimes described as a "mental scratchpad" because it is where most of our everyday memory chores are processed but has limitations...
  • Without rehearsal info can be retained between 15-25 seconds (avg. of 18)--provides temporary storage of just the right amount of information without overloading itself--like a "leaky bucket".
    Is nearly impossible to process two trains of thought at the same time, especially if they involve the same sensory modality (p. 128). Key Point: "Consider the typical class lecture for which students are required to take notes...as a student, if you begin to think about what the teacher just said, you may miss the next input...students often write words on paper but have little conceptual understanding of what they just wrote..." (p. 128)
    I will use the STM digit-span test Power Points that use in class to demonstrate STM capacity limitations (takes about 5 minutes)

  • Limitations of STM can be overcome by employing chunking information into more memory-manageable units into classes or categories.
    Key Point: Chunking helps extend information within STM and serves as a strategy for later transfer to LTM.
    Key Point: "Being able to see how information fits together in chunks is a hallmark of learning; it is a way of working with increasingly larger amounts of information 
  • Thalamus and Amygdala connection--emotion strongly influences whether or not we pay attention to information (mentioned earlier). Emotions also stamp extra vividness onto our memories.
    Key Point: Add an emotional hook to learning; "We remember events that elicit emotional reactions for a longer time than those that don't (p. 137)
  • If an emotionally charged event is perceived as a threat, our memory systems retrieve any knowledge relevant to the perceived emergency at hand and take precedence over other strands of thought.
    "The contemporary human brain does not distinguish between physical and psychological danger; in either case, it sets up the same change of physiological chain of events" (p. 141)
    Key Point: In the classroom a student can perceive even a mild stressor to be threatening, initiating the stress response and lessening his/her ability to perform--examples of stressors might be taking a timed test, being called upon when unprepared, etc.--Emotion dominates over rational thinking in these circumstances!
  • Techniques that link previous knowledge with new concepts--analogies, similes, metaphors (especially if can be made personally relevant)--acronyms and acrostics (forms of chunking) can also extend info in STM and facilitate transfer to LTM by providing meaningful structure--strategies using emotional hooks can be effective (perhaps simulations and role plays) as long as they do not induce a stress response and shut down rational thought.
  • Two major types of LTM: Declarative--ability to store and recall information that we can "declare" (speak/write); Procedural--best described as knowing how versus knowing what
  •  "Memory is not formed at the moment information is acquired; it is not a simple fixation process. Rather, it is dynamic, with unconscious processes that continue to strengthen and stabilize the connections over days, weeks, months, and years" (p. 155)

    Key Point: This means that a single exposure to new material won't likely be sufficient for consolidation--it requires study, practice, rehearsal, training, etc..
    Consolidation is enhanced by rehearsal--when we "replay" our experiences we provide more opportunities for consolidation.
    "The more fully we process information over time, the more connections we make, the more consolidation takes place, and the better the memory will be" (p. 158)
    Key Point: Instruction that allows students to connect new information to previous experiences increases the strength and complexity of the neural connections and, therefore, their retention of the information.
  • Neuroscience tells us that consolidation takes place and requires time (but no one knows how long)--so we might need to be cautious about building curricula that introduces new information in quick succession--allow students time to process information in-depth--incorporate new information gradually and repeat it in timed intervals--Should employ elaborative rehearsal strategies into our instruction

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