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How the brain learns?

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Hatem Radwan

on 22 January 2016

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Transcript of How the brain learns?

To answer this central question we need to know something about how the brain processes information and creates long term memories
The brain processes different stimuli in different parts of the brain
Implications for teaching
The brain creates two types of memory
Short-term memory

that includes immediate memory and working memory.
Long-term memories

These are memories that are retained for greater than 24 hours
Long-term memories require the generation of new synapses during sleep
How the brain learns?
Thank you!
Verbal
input is initially processed through the left temporal lobe in a right handed person.
Reading
requires processing by the occipital cortex, the left temporal lobe and the frontal cortex.
Writing
requires use of the motor cortex in the dominant hemisphere (left hemisphere for a right handed person) as well as the occipital cortex.
Pictures
and other images are initially managed by the occipital cortex and eventually the right side of the brain.
Immediate memory
acts as a temporary site where input is briefly stored until the brain decides whether to erase the memory as unimportant or to process the memory
Working memory
is the place where conscious processing occurs. This is where stimuli that capture our interest and attention are managed.
Items can be processed in the working memory for up to 45 minutes. Longer periods of processing lead to
fatigue
What determines which short-term memories become long-term memories?
1. Does the material make sense?
Is it logical and does it fit with previously retained facts? Can it be connected with other facts in my long-term memory?
2. Is the material important to me (does it have meaning)?

This is the most important criteria for deciding whether a series of facts will be transferred to long-term memory.
New synapses are created during REM sleep
Students who sleep for 8 hours have 5 REM episodes while those who are sleep-deprived have on average on 3 REM episodes
The sleep-deprived student has fewer opportunities to generate long-term memories.
Use all parts of the students brain
by
including reading, writing, verbal processing and images in your teaching.
Engage the working memory

encourage processing of material by requiring active participation, and requiring students to work with the material. Engagement enhances understanding and increases the likelihood of a long-term memory
Don’t overload the working memory

less is more
Encourage long-term memories by creating meaning and creating material that makes sense to the learner.
Relating lessons to real-life situations, and being enthusiastic create meaning. Know your learners’ backgrounds so that you relate to past learning and allow the learner to understand and make sense of the material you are presenting.
Encourage students to get enough sleep.

Long-term memories are created during REM sleep. Without sleep there can be no long-term memories.
But NOT at school!!!!!!
Evaluations must assess long-term memory and understanding

Too often multiple choice questions simply test recognition. Short term memory can be temporarily crammed with blocks of material that allow the student to recognize the correct answer.

However, once the test is completed these facts are erased and never make it to long-term storage.

This phenomenon has been called the Zeigarnik effect
by Hatem Radwan
Further Reading

Bransford JD, Brown AL, Cocking RR. How People Learn: Brain, Mind, Experience, and School. Washington, D.C.: National Academy Press; 1999. 319 p.

Fischer, K, Immordino-Yang, M.H. The Jossey-Bass Reader on The Brain and Learning. San Francisco, CA: John Wiley & Sons, 2008. 457 p.

Sousa, D.A. How the Brain Learns Thousand Oaks, CA, Corwin Press 2006. 309 p.

Zeigarnik BV. Über das Behalten von erledigten und unerledigten Handlungen (The Retention of Completed and Uncompleted Activities). Psychologische Forschung 1927;9:1-85
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