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Date:          October 20, 2009
To:            Meg Van Baalen-Wood and ENGL 4010 students
From:      ...
Memo to Meg Wood and ENGL 4010 students
Page 2
October 13, 2009

Researching Questions

In order to find answers to these ...
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Final Draft Research Memo

  1. 1. RESEARCH TOPIC MEMO Date: October 20, 2009 To: Meg Van Baalen-Wood and ENGL 4010 students From: Jessica Hollon Subject: Brain based learning/practice in the classroom and this practice’s effects on learners’ brains and their knowledge retention The purpose of this memo is to begin to develop a research project on the effects of practice within a classroom setting. This memo will explore focused research questions and how to go about researching the answers to these questions. This memo will also explore how this research can contribute to teachers’ knowledge of best practices within a classroom setting. The Problem to be Researched Since practice is not something that all classroom teachers give students time to do before they are assessed or graded on a new skill, it is problematic for students. According to recent research, “Practice builds neurological connections and thickens the insulating myelin sheath necessary for fluency, chunking of information, brain efficiency, and deep learning” (Hill 2006) . If adequate practice time is not given to students, they may not be able to understand and retain information acquired from new learning as well as they could if they were given practice time. With the concepts of practice and brain based learning coming to the forefront of teaching and best classroom practices, new research is being done in order to show how the brain functions best in learning situations. Along with this new research, there are many questions to be answered about a broad topic that can be applied in many different areas of a learner’s life. Development of Questions Researchers are seeking answers to these questions about brain based learning and practice in all levels of schooling from preschool to secondary education. In order to focus this topic for the purpose of my research paper I will set out to answer these questions: 1) How does practice affect the brain? 2) On average, how much practice time do teachers in the levels of third through fifth grade at the Douglas Intermediate School give for daily practice (un-graded) in reading and math? 3) What types of programs and curriculums are available to aid teachers in giving this practice time to students? 4) How might this new information effect how teachers structure the students’ day?
  2. 2. Memo to Meg Wood and ENGL 4010 students Page 2 October 13, 2009 Researching Questions In order to find answers to these questions, I will first consult recent literature and research on brain based learning. Next, I will survey teachers at the school where I am employed to see if they give practice time and how much time that amounts to daily. I will also look at available curriculums and programs that have built in practice time, and the research these programs present to justify why this aspect of their program strengthens the curriculum. Conclusion After looking at all of these sources of information, I feel as though this research can positively contribute to the knowledge of teachers I work with. I will be taking existing research in the area of brain based learning as well as doing some research of my own, and then be applying my finding to the school where I work. This could change how teachers at my school structure their students’ day and eventually lead to students being able to better understand and retain the information they are learning.
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