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Brain-Based Learning and Math Tutoring

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Megan Ehrhart

on 7 December 2012

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Transcript of Brain-Based Learning and Math Tutoring

Brain-Based Learning and Math Tutoring ASC Tutor Training Introduction Ice Breaker Clusters Learning Activity True or False Short-term Memory Learning Progressive
Relaxation Feel your feet. Sense their weight. Consciously tense your toes. Tense hard and hold for a second. Relax them completely while taking a deep, slow breath. Then consciously tense and relax your whole foot in the same way, remembering to breathe deep and slow.

You will work your way up your body with this same exercise of tense and relax. Concentrate, and try to tense and then relax only one part of the body at a time – toes but not foot, then foot but not leg, then legs but not abdomen and so on. When you get to your upper back and shoulders, try to tense and relax that area without tensing your stomach muscles or your neck.

Take a few seconds for each step of this exercise, even though in the beginning this task will seem almost impossible. When you are finished with the progressive tension and relaxation, take another deep, slow breath and relax your entire body. Taking an extra few seconds to imagine that your body is very light - light enough to float - will finish off this total relaxation nicely. Connections! Your Brain Basic Something happens to you
inside your brain
when you learn something new. What can negative emotions do to you? Anxiety floods your body with adrenaline (“fight or flight”). How quickly do we forget? How does the brain learn math? The same way it learns everything else. So… if you can learn anything,
you can learn math. When you learn anything, the “something that happens” is that you grow brain structure for the information you are learning. The parts of the brain that do the growing are called DENDRITES Brain cells are called neurons.
You are born with at least 100 billion neurons.
Dendrites (fibers) grow out of the neurons when you listen to/write about/talk about/ practice something. Neurons know how to grow dendrites, just like a stomach knows how to digest food.

Learning = Growth of dendrites.

New dendrites take time to grow; it takes a lot of practice for them to grow. Connections form
Between Neurons.

Messages are sent from one neuron to another as electrical signals travel across the synapse. When two dendrites grow close together, a contact point is formed. A small gap at the contact point is called the synapse. Practice builds faster connections. The thicker the dendrites, the faster the signals travel. The myelin coating also reduces interference. When you practice something, the dendrites grow thicker with a fatty coating of myelin. Practice builds
strong connections! Special chemicals called neurotransmitters carry the electrical signals across the synapse.

When you practice something, it gets easier for the signals to cross the synapse. That’s because the contact area becomes wider and more neurotransmitters are stored there. Practice builds
double connections. With enough practice, the dendrites build a double connection. Faster, stronger, double connections last a very long time. You remember what you learned! Short-term memory is VERY short!
If you learn something new and do it only once or twice, the dendrite connection is very fragile and can disappear within hours.
Within 20 minutes, you remember only 60%.
Within 24 hours, you remember only 30%.

But if you practice within 24 hours, and then practice again later, you remember 80%. You grow dendrites for exactly the same thing you are practicing.

If you listen or watch while math problems are solved, you grow dendrites for listening or for watching.

If you actually solve the problems yourself, you grow dendrites for solving. Make the most of practice time… Number of Days Percentage of what we retain. Do some math within 5 hours of class. Pick one or more:
Study your textbook
Rework your notes
Review your homework problems
Work some of new problems True or False? PRACTICE
PERFECT! False What’s true is that …
PERMANENT! So, practice well.
Look up the answers in the back of the book.
Make sure you are practicing correctly. Your Success Variables Some hints towards being successful in Math! Group Discussion Stress From Anxiety
to Anguish! What happens
when your mind
goes blank? Pressure to perform well (from self and/or others)…

Lack of adequate study time (work, family, too many courses)…

Fear of unknown or preconceived notions about test difficulty… From Stress
to Anxiety Student begins to fear the test before it’s time to take it!

Fear reaches its highest point at the time they are to begin the actual test! Within Seconds Muscles tense!
Blood pressure rises!
Stress hormones are released! Difficulty breathing
Difficulty concentrating
Mental “blank-out”
How does this happen?? Fear and Anxiety Your body prepares itself for a perceived physical danger – the math test!

It finds that the situation is not physically dangerous after all!

Nevertheless, the body has already begun its fight or flight reaction.

Stress hormones, such as adrenaline and cortisol, are released.

Without an actual fight or flight,
the hormones do not get metabolized.

It doesn’t matter how hard you work if your
brain isn’t functioning properly. Adrenaline makes it hard for the neuro-transmitters to carry messages across the synapses in your brain.
That causes “blanking out” on a test. Negative emotions stop the brain from functioning

If You Can’t Think,You Can’t Learn

It doesn’t matter how hard you work if your brain isn’t functioning properly Is it hopeless? Although diligent studying and careful preparation helps a lot, it will not necessarily prevent test anxiety.

An anxious student may know the answers both before and after the test, but not while taking the test!

Even the best performers get stage fright –

Test anxiety works by the same brain mechanisms There are some things you can do…
Take a deep breath and keep breathing
Acknowledge your feelings and consciously try to relax.
Stop putting yourself down.
Rework your negative statements into positive self-talk. Think “I can.”
Focus your attention away from yourself and toward the task at hand. Benefits NOW… When experiencing test anxiety, these activities:
Draw awareness away from your anxiety
Add oxygen to your brain
Relax you Whether you think you can or whether you think you can’t, you’re right!
-Henry Ford These Three Things Combined Can… How much you knew about math before taking a new math class
How fast you can relearn old and learn new math concepts

Here is where dendrite growth can blossom Self-Awareness
Study Habits Effectiveness of Math instructors: course textbook, teaching style, teaching aids, etc. Don’t over use
the solutions manual Warm up your
brain right before class Be your own best teacher Pick one or more:
Read your textbook
Read your notes
Review your homework problems
Work a couple of problems It’s a tool, not a crutch
Make a mistake and correct it
You can’t take it with you to the test
Regularly ask yourself “Who is working the problem?” What are the qualities of your favorite teachers? Implement them in your learning
Know your strengths and weaknesses
Be responsible for your learning How much does
the teacher matter? How does understanding
brain-based learning
help tutoring? Acknowledgements: 1. Adapted from material by Kathryn Van Wagoner
Utah Valley University
Math Lab Manager
2. How Your Brain Learns and Remembers 2007 Diana Hestwood and Linda RussellMinneapolis Community & Technical College

woman afraid of monster - http://thebrain.mcgill.ca/flash/i/i_04/i_04_p/i_04_p_peu/i_04_p_peu.html
worried young man - http://www.righthealth.com/Health/pictures_Of_Anxiety/-od-images-3-s
anxiety cartoon character - http://ambermoon.wordpress.com/2008/07/11/anxiety-simple-techniques-to-help-you-through-it/ Thanks for attending the ASC Tutor Training Brain-Based Learning
and Math Tutoring
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