Our education system today is in a state of flagrant disrepair. Educators rely on outdated modes of instruction to teach children. Instead of examining these methods administrators spend time and effort developing more intensive assessments in hopes of fueling more intense learning. In order to successfully impact learning teachers must begin teaching in ways that guarantee to impart new knowledge. Brain-based learning is a newer concept in education that addresses the specific needs of a learner’s brain in order to maximize learning. Brain-based learning as defined by author and educator Eric Jensen is “the engagement of strategies based on principles derived from an understanding of the brain,” (2010, p.4). Because educators do not teach in accordance with how the brain learns, the education system is failing today’s students.
Fundamentals of Brain-Based Learning
How the brain learns
Much of society’s understanding of learning revolves around a behaviorist’s approach to instruction, “with enough punishment and rewards, you can get any behavior you wish,” (Jensen, 2010, p.6). This form of teaching does not take into account a person’s individual circumstances or uniqueness. Instead behaviorism relies on the idea the idea that everyone will react the same to the decided reinforcers. Brain-based learning, on the other hand, asks: “How could I discover the learner’s natural impediments and built in motivators so that the desired behavior emerges as a natural consequence? (Jensen, 2010, p.6). Learning involves the entire brain and is fueled at many times by a survival instinct. Humans learn because many times the new information offered is considered essential to that person’s life. In this way it is not surprising that many times that which is learned may not always be what was intended by the instructor. In order to engage the brain with new learning it is important to prove that the information is vital and needed by the student.
For many decades people have been considered to be either right or left side dominant in regards to brain function which came with defined roles such as “creative” or “analytical”. This thinking tends to be over-simplified as most people use their entire brains daily (Jensen, 2010). On the other hand people do use different parts of their brain for different tasks according to how they perceive those tasks.
In order to thoroughly engage learners and their specific brain dominance it is important to discuss subject matter with a big picture approach and then to discuss the details. This will involve learning from the left side as the small details flow into a larger subject. The right side of the brain will also be engaged when learning a subject through visualization of the big picture. In today’s school systems subjects tend to be taught the same: different subtopics are broken up and taught at different times until all material is covered. The big picture of the new...