Effective Teaching And The Three Pathways To The Brain

There are three main pathways to the brain when it comes to learning. Information can reach your brain through what you see, what you hear and what you do.

Think of the last time you learned something. It could have been a recipe you followed, a computer program at work, a video game you learned, or how to use your mobile phone. Did you learn it quickly and efficiently?

Chances are you learned it best if the information was presented to you using all three pathways to the brain. If you didn't learn it well, or it led to frustration, then perhaps there was a pathway to your brain that wasn't being utilized and that was the missing piece.

Students are no different. In order to provide the best chance for learning the information needs to be presented using all three pathways. It automatically takes into account different learning styles, and ensures learning is an active process.

Let Students "See" by Showing Them.

When appropriate, the items students are learning about need to be available within the classroom. In some form or other, students need to "see" what they are learning. In science it means have models of things. In geography it means having maps and atlases. In math it means displaying examples on the board. In spelling it means showing examples of a spelling rule. Even if material items don't seem applicable or aren't available, using gestures or role play to act out what is being taught can also be effective. In fact, it helps to engage students because they need to use their imagination.

Unlike "looking", which is more passive, "Seeing" is an active process. As teachers and parents we can help support the active process of "seeing" by making sure the information is not just displayed, but that we are actually "showing" our students something. "Showing" our students what we want them to learn also provides a shared experience.

Let Students Hear the Information

Telling your students the information they need to know is important. While learning through discovery and problem-based learning is valuable, there is some information that students need to hear explicitely. While I am absolutely a proponent of discovery based learning, the processes involved in learning and assimilating, hypthesizing and testing, theorizing and generalizing are extremely complex. Some students have difficulty learning through discovery alone, especially if not properly supported. Be sure to tell your students the information they need to learn what they need to learn and do what they need to do.

Let Students Experience the Information

If you've ever tried to cook a recipe or tried to drive to a place you've never been before you know that success can have little to do with having the right information. You may have been following a recipe from a book or had a map right in front of you ("seeing" the information), and your friend may have given you a bunch of extra pointers over the phone ("hearing" the information), but somehow, things go terribly wrong!

It is important to let students use, and experience the information being learned. Make sure there is something students and children can "do" with the information or concepts that they are learning. Let students try, experiment, and apply concepts on their own.

The process of learning by using the three pathways to the brain, seeing, hearing, and doing, is important at any age, kindergarten through adulthood. With a bit of creativity the idea of teaching via the three pathways to the brain can be applied to any subject and any unit of study, in every lesson.

For more great tips and friendly advice on great ideas about how you can engage your students, help your students reach their potential and be a more effective teacher visit http://sarahhammondlearning.blogspot.com/.

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