How the brain is the best teacher’s aid

USE YOUR HEAD: Noted neurologist, teacher and author Dr Judy Willis speaks to teachers during a seminar at Shoalhaven High School on Friday about the brain’s development.IT is a no brainer – the way the brain functions affects how people learn.Shoalhaven teachers were last week given a new insight into the way the brain’s functions affect learning from internationally acclaimed neurologist and teacher Dr Judy Willis.The day of learning and workshops for teachers from Shoalhaven High School and its feeder primary schools on Friday focused on the way the latest research on the brain’s functions could guide classroom activities.Dr Willis told the large gathering how scans of the brain had shown different sections became active when actions or thoughts were processed.The brain’s activity revealed what thoughts caused stress or anxiety, and what things helped relieve that tension, she said.It also showed what things improved or impeded memory.“We can see from the scans what the brain pays attention to, what impedes it, what things prevent strong memories from being stored in a way they are retrievable,” Dr Willis said.“These scans show up what the brain responds to worst and best and how we can respond to it as educators.”They showed the importance of activating prior knowledge before introducing a new and associated principle or concept, Dr Willis said, building knowledge gradually on the back of concepts that have already been studied.“If you want a memory to stick, that’s what you do – you front-load students with things they already know,” she explained.“Teachers already know all about this but the research is going even further to emphasise how important it is to activate sections of the brain with things students have already learnt before introducing something new.”Linking information with other activities such as music or art was also helpful, resulting in information being stored in several different parts of the brain all connected by dendrites, Dr Willis said.“Each time there’s another sensory system applied to a memory, that gives a new place the memory is stored,” she said.While research on the brain’s functions gave insight into improving education, it also gave hope for worried parents.Dr Willis said there were ways of “hard-wiring” some of what she called the brain’s “executive functions” such as risk assessment and responsibility, into young brains many years before they developed naturally about the age of 25.This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on 苏州美甲培训学校.