Monday, January 03, 2011

Fun and Games

Think about your recent learning. What was the setting? Were you alone or in a group? Was it a self selected topic or a session or workshop that you were mandated to attend? Did you share the experience with others? Did you feel stressed or joyful? Did you have "aha" moments that you wanted to discuss with others? 
Brain research tells us that when the fun stops, learning often stops too. - Judy Willis

Support Good Teaching Practices with Neuroscience

Most children can't wait to start kindergarten and approach the beginning of school with awe and anticipation. Kindergartners and 1st graders often talk passionately about what they learn and do in school. Unfortunately, the current emphasis on standardized testing and rote learning encroaches upon many students' joy. In their zeal to raise test scores, too many policymakers wrongly assume that students who are laughing, interacting in groups, or being creative with art, music, or dance are not doing real academic work. The result is that some teachers feel pressure to preside over more sedate classrooms with students on the same page in the same book, sitting in straight rows, facing straight ahead.

Read what Dr. Judy Willis, neurologist turned middle school teacher, has to say in her book, The Neuroscience of Joyful Learning. And who knows? You just might inspire this type of reaction in your classroom:

Additional brain research which reveals the necessity of joyful experiences as prerequisites to learning can be found here and here. 

1 comment:

Kathi M. said...

Perfect! I know the joyful feeling of "getting it" and I work everyday to have my students experience their own "ah ha" moments in learning.