Children are not progressing well enough in their learning either to maximize their individual potential as human beings or to meet the collective requirements of a modern economy. We need to see dramatic improvements in the progress that children make in their learning. This requires bold thinking and innovative approaches to teaching and learning. The Forum for Life-Based Learning supports one such approach that is centred on teaching children the way the brain learns — ‘brain-targeted teaching’.
An online article, 6 Targets to Teach the Way the Brain Learns, sets out the basics of the brain-targeted approach in an accessible way, linking insights from neuroscience to actual classroom practice. It summarises a framework developed by Dr Mariale Hardiman, a professor at Johns Hopkins University in the USA.
The six targets (in simplified, non-technical terms) are:
- Establishing the right emotional climate for learning so that children are relaxed and ready for learning
- Paying attention to the physical learning space
- Designing learning so that children connect old and new information
- Teaching for ‘mastery’ of a topic so that children begin to store information in long-term memory
- Encouraging children to be creative, especially with new information they have acquired
- Helping children to evaluate their learning, particularly through assessments that give them useful and timely feedback
Although we may agree or disagree on the particular ‘targets’ (something that I will return to in future posts), it is the overall approach that I wish to draw attention to here — one that is informed by the way that the brain works.
The Forum for Life-Based Learning believes that we need to reform the school curriculum for young children. The Mind is one of nine learning themes — each with equal priority — through which we believe the individual subjects of the UK National Curriculum should be taught, in order to equip children with the knowledge, skills and values to tackle the challenges they will meet as adults.
By harnessing learning to the way the brain learns, life-based learning brings a crucial new dimension to children’s education. It is by working the way the brain learns that children will make accelerated learning progress.
Click to read more about the life-based learning Mind theme
Visit the brain-targeted teaching website
An Urgent Priority
Why we need a long-term strategy around learning and the brain
Image at the head of this article by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay.