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Making Schools More Brain-Friendly

The basics are how the brain learns, not what it learns.

An article published on EdCircuit, authored by Betsy Hill and Roger Stark, suggest some changes to help make schools more  brain-friendly.  Here is an excerpt…

“Parents and educators often refer to the basics when talking about reading, writing and math. But these basics actually involve complexes of underlying mental processes that must be operating efficiently, effectively, automatically, and in an integrated manner for the basics to become something learned.

For example, one aspect of reading is decoding the letters on the page to form words. The cognitive skills that support decoding, such as attention, visual discrimination, visual sequential processing, and working memory, must be automatic for successful reading. Many struggling readers are deficient in these skills.

Math disabilities can also be tied to deficits in underlying cognitive skills. Moreover, as the math curriculum has changed over the last ten to fifteen years, more emphasis has been placed on communicating math ideas, interpreting data from charts and figures, and estimating. These changes mean that learning deficits in any area are more likely to impair performance in math. In fact, many individuals with a math disability also have learning disabilities in other areas.

But, despite the fact that underlying cognitive skills are essential to all learning, they are not generally taught in schools. Schools assume that every student brings the necessary cognitive skills to the learning process or as much of those skills as they will ever have.

We can change the outcomes of the learning experience by taking what we learn from neuroscience to make schools more brain-friendly.


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