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How your brain learns

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by

Stephanie Robinson

on 1 August 2014

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Transcript of How your brain learns

Point #5

Mistakes with feedback are essential because...
Point #2

You must actively learn because...
Point #1

You are naturally smart because...
Point #3

Dendrites cannot grow in void, they can only grow...
How your brain learns
Part 1:

What happens to your brain when you learn something new?
Learning
ELEMENTS
There are 3 parts to learning.
Part 3:

What does it all mean?
What happens inside your brain
Brain-friendly ways to learn
How homework helps your brain
How emotions affect learning and memory

Part 2:

What are the most important parts to remember?
This is your brain...
Brain cells are
neurons
.
You are born with at least 1,000,000,000 neurons.
Dendrites (fibers) grow out of the neurons when you listen, write, talk, & practice.
Learning is natural
Neurons grow dendrites.
Learning = growth of dendrites.
New dendrites take a lot of time to grow, and it takes a lot of practice for them to grow.
connections form
Dendrites grow close together and form a small gap called a synapse.
Messages are sent from one neuron to another through synapses.
practice builds strong connections
Chemicals called neurotransmitters carry electrical signals across the synapse.
When you practice, it gets easier for the signals to cross.
That's because the contact area becomes wider and more neurotransmitters are stored there.
practice builds faster connections
When you practice, the dendrites grow thicker with a fatty coating of myelin.
The thicker the dendrites, the faster the signals travel.
Myelin also reduces interference with other chemicals.
This toddler is growing dendrites!

What skills or concepts might her dendrites be growing for?
practice. practice. practice.
Dendrites grow when you...
Listen and watch
When you solve problems
When you read
When you talk about it
And the more you do it, the better!
short-term memory is very short
If you learn something, and only practice it once or twice, dendrite connections are very fragile and can disappear within hours.
In 20 mins memory reduces to 60%
In 24 hours memory reduces to 30%
But if you practice, within 24 hours, then practice again later, you remember 80%
practice builds double connections
With enough practice, the dendrites build double connections.
Faster, stronger, & double connections last a LONG TIME.
This is how you actually REMEMBER what you learn.
2007 Diana Hestwood and Linda Russell
Minneapolis Community & Technical College

The 6 Major Points of
Remembering

Your brain "knows" how to grow dendrites like your stomach "knows" how to digest food.
Think about a baby learning how to speak.
Dendrites only grow when you are actively doing something!
What are ways to actively learn?
Pssst... No one can grow dendrites for you!
New dendrites only grow from what is already there. New skills must grow from previous ones.
If you don't have the necessary previous dendrites, new material will go "right over your head."
This is why we don't do Calculus in kindergarten.
Point #4

Dendrites take time to grow because...
It takes a lot of practice!
That's why we have homework!

This is also why trying to cram everything into your brain the night before doesn't work!
Making mistakes and getting feedback allows your brain to check the accuracy of dendrite connections.






But be sure to get feedback quickly, so you don't practice the wrong thing!
train your brain!
Point #6

Emotions affect learning and memory...
emotions --
the bad
Anxiety floods your body with adrenaline.

Adrenaline makes it hard for neurotransmitters to go across the synapse.

This causes "blanking."
emotions --
the good
Endorphins make you feel calm.

Your body produces endorphins when you relax, exercise, laugh, & learn new things.

If you practice producing calm hormones, it will help you under stress. How can we practice?
use dendrite theory to answer these questions
I understand what's going on in the lecture, but when I get home and start on my homework, why am I lost?
I attend class and do all my homework. Why do I "blank out" on the test?
How about these questions.
Why do I have to do this homework? It's just the same thing over and over.
Can I just do the homework on weekends and pass the course?
It's the night before the test. If I just cram in all the information, I'll be fine, right?!

Why can't I take this math course before taking the math courses before it?
so what should you do?
Build your skills up, starting with the foundation.
Do at least some of your homework as soon as you can after class/school.
Try to practice math/basic skills every day.
To manage anxiety, learn simple relaxation techniques.
Create good study habits.
flash cards
pictures
diagrams
problem solving
talk with others
make practice tests
New vocabulary
neuron
dendrite
synapse
neurotransmitter
myelin
adrenaline
endorphins
and remember, feed the dendrites!!!
We're hungry!
Full transcript