Neuro-truths in the Classroom

Educator applies practices rooted in neuro-truths so that they can optimize the learning experiences of their students.
Made by Center for Transformative Teaching and Learning
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About this Micro-credential

Key Method

The educator implements MBE research-informed strategies to improve teaching and leading.

Method Components

This micro-credential forms one part of the research-informed framework for teaching Mind, Brain, Education science to educators and school leaders. It was developed by the Center for Transformative Teaching and Learning. We suggest you complete this stack in the following order: (1) Neuroplasticity: Educators as Brain-changers; (2) Neuromyth Busting; (3) Neuro-truths in the Classroom. It is also important to recognize that this process is iterative.

What is a “neuro-truth”?

The Center for Transformative Teaching and Learning defines a “neuro-truth” as a belief that is currently supported by Mind, Brain, and Education science research.

Neuro-truths

  1. Teachers should use a variety of modalities to teach and assess, but choose which ones to use based on the content they want to teach. This practice contradicts the neuromyth that students learn best when teaching is matched to their preferred learning style.
  2. The brain is unable to multitask. The brain actually switches back and forth between tasks, but there is a transaction cost for doing so, which makes it less efficient. Think about this in terms of teaching and learning moments.
  3. With strategic effort, we can help rewire students’ brains to deal with stress in a positive, productive manner. Since the prefrontal cortex is still maturing in childhood and adolescence, students are still developing their emotional regulation skills.
  4. Core knowledge is a fundamental part of any learning episode. Lecture is one method educators can use to help build this core knowledge. However, to be effective, lecture should be used strategically and in conjunction with other methods, such as formative assessments and ones that require students to use the knowledge in a novel context. The goal is to build knowledge that is durable and flexible.
  5. Praising achievement leads students to link their successes to innate ability, whereas praising effort links their successes to something within their control—the amount and quality of effort they put in. Doing this is linked to students taking greater academic risks and persevering more in the face of challenges.
  6. The quality of homework is more important than the quantity. Planned and focused activities (like a particular project or learning target) are more beneficial than homework, which is regular and routine.
  7. Research suggests that active recall methods, such as self-testing, will probably be more successful for most students. Rereading is not the best method because it can give the illusion of fluency; students become familiar with the words and think they understand them when they might not.
  8. Due to the primacy-recency effect, educators should begin teaching new material at the start of class, rather than reviewing or taking attendance.
  9. All students, even the strongest ones, can benefit from additional training in executive functioning, because the prefrontal cortex—the part of the brain largely responsible for planning—continues to develop into the mid-twenties.
  10. Research suggests that interventions focused on building metacognitive ability can have a great impact on student achievement. However, doing so is difficult and requires strategic effort over time on the part of the teacher, hence the benefit of doing it in class.

Research & Resources

Supporting Research

  • The following book chapter, articles, and website are foundational to promoting neuro-truths that are backed by MBE science.

  • Understanding the Brain: The Birth of a Learning Science from OECD.
    http://www.oecd.org/site/educeri21st/40554190.pdf
  • Benassi, V. A., Overson, C. E., & Hakala, C. M. Applying science of learning in education: Infusing psychological science into the curriculum. Retrieved from the Society for the Teaching of Psychology website, 2014.
    http://teachpsych.org/ebooks/asle2014/index.php
  • Paul Howard-Jones, Introducing Neuroeducational Research: Neuroscience, Education, and the Brain, from Contexts to Practice (New York: Routledge, 2010).

    This foundational work explains the interdisciplinary neuro-educational approach to teaching and learning and presents case studies and empirical findings to illustrate how a neuro-educational approach can supply us with a more complete picture of how we learn.
  • Willis, J. “The Neuroscience of Joyful Education.” Educational Leadership.
    http://bit.ly/2tF9NlJ

Resources

  • The following book chapters, articles and videos support the research on how to develop your understanding of neuro-truths supported by Mind, Brain, and Education science.

  • Hardiman, M. The Brain-Targeted Teaching Model for 21st-Century Schools (Corwin), 2012.

    This is a foundational resource for educators, which demonstrates how to apply educational and cognitive neuroscience principles to educational settings through a pedagogical framework.
  • Hinton, C., Fischer, K, & Glennon, C. Mind, Brain, and Education: The Student at the Center Series, 2012.
    http://www.howyouthlearn.org/pdf/Mind%20Brain%20Education.pdf
  • Whitman, G. & Kelleher, I. Neuroteach: Brain Science and the Future of Education (Rowman & Littlefield), 2016.

    Written by educators who live the experience of teaching everyday, Neuroteach serves as a pivotal resource guide for how to use the strongest evidence in Mind, Brain, Education science to inform one’s educational practice.
  • Neuroscience and the Classroom: Making Connections: A 42-Module Video Course for K-12 teachers and school counselors.
    https://www.learner.org/resources/series214.html
  • Project Zero
    http://www.pz.harvard.edu/
  • Von Pfetten, V. "Read This Story Without Distraction (Can You?)." The New York Times, 29 Apr. 2016.
    http://nyti.ms/2sknN0w
  • A video of a talk by Paul Howard-Jones
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=docSZBq3juY
  • RADTeach.com
    http://www.radteach.com/
    Dr. Judy Willis’ website, which emphasizes teaching practices that engage the heart and mind to challenge all students to their highest potential.

Submission Requirements

Submission Guidelines & Evaluation Criteria

The items in the following section detail what must be submitted for evaluation. An educator will need to receive a passing evaluation for Parts 1 and 3, and "competency met" for Part 2 to earn the micro-credential.

Part 1. Overview Questions

(500-word limit)


In answering these questions, make specific reference to the resources you used in your responses.

Identify 3 strategies rooted in a neuro-truth and describe how you have already implemented them in your class or school. Describe your observations of yourself and your students as you were implementing these strategies. Could you tell whether your students were more engaged? What worked? What didn’t work?

Part 2. Work Examples / Artifacts

Plan one class period, meeting, or conversation that includes the implementation of at least three neuro-truths. Present your executed plan as a lesson plan, timeline, video, info-graphic, discussion, etc.

Part 3. Reflection

(50-word minimum)


Meta-cognition, the act of thinking about thinking, is a critical part of the learning process. Use this Visible Thinking Routine from Project Zero to assess how your brain has changed by completing this MBE Neuro-truths in the Classroom micro-credential.

Before completing this MBE Neuro-truth credential, I used to think ________________ but now, after completing this MBE Neuro-truth credential, I think _______________________________.


Except where otherwise noted, this work is licensed under:
Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0)
http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/

Requirements

Download to access the requirements and scoring guide for this micro-credential.
How to prepare for and earn this micro-credential - in a downloadable PDF document

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