For our last post of 2106, we turn to a subject that is near and dear to my heart: neuroscience. There’s a new movement in teaching called Whole Brain Teaching that uses strategies gleaned from neuroscience to influence teaching methods. For example, students will create and learn body movements that correspond to certain vocabulary words, which activates their motor cortex and provides another pathway for them to access the information when they are looking to remember it, say for a test. One of the major adjustments that they suggest is reevaluating classwork through the lens of social learning and take into account that students are also learning those all important 21st century skills as well as the common core curriculum. For those of you worrying that you’ll have to take in depth neuroscience classes at your next inservice, don’t fret. Teachers don’t need to be an expert on the structure and functions of each part of the brain, but they should understand how the brain develops as children age and are exposed to new ideas. This could be the reason that future teachers going through Virginia’s teacher education program are now required to take a developmental psychology class, with other states sure to follow suit.
Have a happy holiday season, and we’ll see you back here in 2017!