Sunday, November 7, 2010

Connections make my brain go round.

I like lists.  They help me grasp and remember the most important concepts and then I can keep the nuances and details swirling around in my head.  Then I mash the list and the ideas in my head together as I craft an answer to an essay question, create a presentation, or go grocery shopping for a special dinner.  To me, this is an example of how the brain works.  Or at least how my brain works.  As Reardon pointed out, “each brain is unique.”  According to Reardon, “every brain simultaneously perceives and creates parts and wholes.”  To me this is similar to Zull’s recommendation in The Art of Changing the Brain, that teachers “arrange for firing together…associated things should happen together.”  When I look at the two lists supplied by Reardon and Zull side-by-side, I can see connection everywhere!

Reardon: How the brain works…
Zull: What teachers can do…
My connections
The brain is a parallel processor
Repeat, repeat, repeat
 Same info presented in different ways will access different parts of the brain so the parallel consciousnesses can each be accessed.
Learning engages the entire physiology
Misconnected networks are most often just incomplete; try to add to them
Use different parts of the body/mind/spirit to connect to the whole physiology for deeper experiences.
The search for meaning is innate and occurs thru patterning
Try to understand existing networks, build on them; nothing is new
As we connect new patterns to old patterns we create a third pattern with deep roots in something we already retain as knowledge.
Every brain simultaneously perceives and creates parts and wholes
Arrange for firing together; associated things should happen together
I would caveat that don’t always be so sure to exclude something from a group. Look for connections in what previously seemed unconnected.  This is where new ideas come from.
Emotions are critical to patterning
Be careful about resurrecting old networks; error dies hard
Emotional patterns may be the most difficult to break; once overcome, be prepared to address them again if there is a relapse.
Learning involves both focused attention and peripheral perception
Focus on sensory input that is errorless
Don’t distract from the main point with an unrelated tangent; Enhance the main point with a meaningful story providing memorable examples.
The brain remembers best when facts and skills are embedded in contextual memory
Construct metaphors, analogies, similes
Like searching for meaning, roots in something familiar aid in memory and understanding.
Learning is enhanced by challenge, inhibited by threat
Don’t stress mistakes; don’t reinforce neuronal networks that aren’t useful
Stressing mistakes can be very threatening.  Small wins can be very powerful.
Each Brain is unique
Watch for inherent networks (natural talents) and encourage the practice
Build on your strengths to succeed.

I have also made some graphic pictograms for recalling Zull's suggestions for teaching.  I think they are fun devices for understanding how the brain works.  I hope you enjoy them!



Anonymous said...

Thanks, Marianne, for your fabulous list and graphics. I particularly liked how you thought to compare the Reardon and Zull concepts and then add your own perceptions/thoughts. I never would have thought to do that (due to my unique brain, I suppose)!


Cameron said...

All your insights are great as usual, but more importantly, you put something related to zombies up which increases my learning as I just watched a zombie movie and love them!! I wonder what kind of weird things happen in their heads....

Anonymous said...

Creating the 3 column chart was simply brilliant. I really enjoyed your descriptions bridging Reardon and Zull. Great post!

Allison Friederichs said...

I really appreciate that you are willing and able to communicate how you learn in this way. I think I have learned a lot from you this quarter, so thank you! I appreciated being able to see the pattern across the ideas in the readings. In fact, it's funny b/c I had linked many of those same concepts in my head, but had not put them together visually in this way. So that was neat to see.

Next step in this process would be: can you take this processing of these ideas and turn it into tangible ways to teach and train? We'll talk more tonight in class. Great post!