Neuroscience & Class Engagement: Strategies to Max Std Attention, Focus & Potential w @judywillis @learningandtheb

I had the opportunity to spend the week out at UCSB for a Learning and the Brain conference presented by Dr. Judy Willis entitled “Neuroscience and Classroom Engagement: Strategies for Maximizing Students’ Attention, Focus and Potential.”

Below you will find links to my full storified notes for each of the 5 (half day) sessions.

I also tried to pick out some highlights, which you will find below:

Engaging Students from the Start

Process over product. This question doesn’t just ask for an answer (multiple choice) but a calculation of an amount (which requires them to come up with a thoughtful response)

When talking through answers, have each student explain the process by which they came up with an answer. There many ways to come up with the correct answer for this problem, for example (formula, spreadsheet, etc)

The Impact of Emotions on Learning and Memory

At start of class/lessons, use “curiosity boosters”. Youtube videos are are good source:

F/F/F = fight (act out), flight, freeze (zone out)

By teaching students about the brain and neuroplasticity, we can help them understand that they can change their brains and build the brain they want!

Question: how can we take the “game model” mentality and build it into what we do? Can we use adaptive learning systems and websites that provide instant feedback to help?

Memory, Narratives, and Neuroplasticity

As teachers, what are we doing to help students make the link and connection between the new information they are learning and the old information they already know? On a cross-curricular level? From one year to the next? From one teacher to another teacher? Are we working on vertical alignment within our departments to ensure that we are using similar vocabulary to allow students to make these links and connections? It is important to teach students about neuroplasticity and the “infinite potential” of their brain (explain through science). Students taught that they *can* change their brains have shown increase effort and test scores.

As educators, it is important we don’t avoid assigning questions that might be “too challenging” (to avoid student frustration) or answering teachable moment questions (time pressure/content & curricular pressures)

If you provide *timely* corrective feedback (within a minute), you can rewire networks (neuroplastic changes) Add practice to that -> accurate, long-term memory

Building the Environment for the Memory & Cognition

Maximizing Students’ Highest Potentials

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