How (and Why) to Teach Students About their Brains
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Educational Leadership December 2009 | Volume 67 | Number 4 Health and Learning
How (and Why) to Teach Students About the Brain
Judy Willis, M.D., M.Ed
Teachers should guide students in how best to use their most powerful tool
We can empower students by showing them how they can change their intelligence by teaching them a “Brain Owner’s Manual”. I've taught elementary and secondary school students about how their brains learn and witnessed their transformation from passive to active learners with more positive mindsets.
Explaining how the brain works is especially important for students who believe that they are "not smart" and that nothing they do can change that. Many children, and even some parents and teachers, think that intelligence is determined at birth and that even intense effort will not budge their academic abilities. The realization that they can literally change their brains by improving how they approach learning and how they study is liberating.
We discuss neuroplasticity—the fact that their brains can grow new connections between neurons as they learn something then use and review the information. I show them brain scans, and we make diagrams and clay models of connections forming between neurons through cellular projections called dendrites.
For full article see Willis, J.A. (Dec. 2009) How to Teach Students About the Brain. Educational Leadership. 67(4) http://www.ascd.org/publications/educational_leadership/current_issue.aspx