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Many factors affect the quality of how learning occurs. Knowledge advances in the science of how the brain works have led to new discoveries. We now know that students are more likely to learn a concept if the concept is related to a personal experience a student can have. We also know that the physical conditions of the body can influence learning. Stress and threat affect the brain differently from peace and contentment. We know learning is influenced and organized by emotions. And emotions and cognition cannot be separated, so the emotional climate in the school and classroom can affect the learning process.

The way we teach can greatly improve if we move beyond simplistic and narrow approaches to learning, and adapt the principles of how the brain works to our learning curriculum and pattern of teaching.

Below are guidelines/interventions, that I believe would help improve how our students learn.

  1. Teaching must be based on theories and methodologies that guide the teacher to make orchestration possible. The human brain processes thoughts, emotions, imagination, and predispositions simultaneously and learns better when ideas are related in meaning ways to social and cultural knowledge. If a teacher wants to teach ‘opportunity cost’ in economics, they could relate it to the cost the student would make to making in choosing to purchase a textbook over buying the latest IPOD.
  2. The health management of students must be fully incorporated into the learning process. The physical conditions of the body can influence learning. Stress and threat affect the brain different from peace, challenge, boredom, happiness and contentment. Before every lecture, the lecturer should do a sense-check of the mental and physical state of the students to determine whether to go on with the lecture or the best teaching approach to use.
  3. Lessons need to be structured in a way that is exciting and meaningful. It must be made to satisfy the student’s curiosity and hunger for novelty, discovery and challenge. Humans are meaning makers. We are constantly searching to make meaning of our experiences. The brain automatically registers the familiar while simultaneously searching for the new. When teaching about a scientific discovery, the lecturer could dwell a bit on the history and life of the discoverers.
  4. Lessons should be presented in such a way that it allows the student to recognize patterns or similar concepts in their everyday life as opposed to imposing it on them. The brain is constantly attempting to discern and understand patterns. It resists meaningless patterns (i.e. Information unrelated to what makes sense to it). When the brains natural capacity to integrate information is acknowledge and invoked in teaching, then vast amounts of initially unrelated or seemingly random information and activities can be presented and assimilated. When teaching about financial concepts the currency used in examples should be the students local currency.
  5. The emotional climate in the school and classroom must be monitored on consistent basis, using effective communication strategies and allowing for student and teacher reflection and metacognitive processes. What we learn is influenced and organized by emotions. And emotions and cognitions cannot be separated. If a lecturer is teaching about war, the mood of the lecturer should be sad.
  6. Learning should be structured in such a way, that the parts of the concepts and the whole concept are taught in a simultaneous manner or interactively. People have enormous difficult in learning when either parts or wholes are overlooked. Einstein’s law of relativity is best taught after and yet alongside Newton’s laws of motions. Newton’s laws of motions are subsets of Einstein’s law of relativity.
  7. Exhibits for lessons must be changed frequently to reflect changes in learning focus. The brain also absorbs information and signals that lie beyond the field of attention.
  8. Teachers need to use a great deal of real-life activity, including class-room demonstration, projects, field trips, visual imagery of certain experiences and best performances, stories, metaphor, drama, and interaction of different subjects. Our brain understands and remember best when facts and skills are embedded in natural, spatial memory. Our native language is learned through multiple interactive experiences involving vocabulary and grammar
  9. All lessons must come with assignments that are high on challenge but low on threat. Learning is enhanced by challenge and inhibited by threat.
  10. All lessons must be developed with the flexibility of allowing students to express visual, tactile, emotional and auditory preferences. Although we all have the same set of systems, including our senses and basic emotions, they are integrated differently in every brain. And because learning actually changes the structure of the brain, each brain is unique. An audio visual training material must be available for every course.
  11. All lessons must be developed with the flexibility of allowing students to express visual, tactile, emotional and auditory preferences. Although we all have the same set of systems, including our senses and basic emotions, they are integrated differently in every brain. And because learning actually changes the structure of the brain, each brain is unique. An audio visual training material must be available for every course.

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