Judy Willis

Consultant

Santa Barbara, CA

Interests: 21st century learning,...

  • Posted 8 Years ago
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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

4 Comments

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Judy_Willis

15 Jul 11, 01:26 PM

New post by neurologist and teacher Judy Willis MD. Dr. Willis continues with her 5-part series on how teachers are the caretakers of students’ future potentials: their executive functions. This post describes the benefits of writing, particularly for math and science learning.

The Brain-Based Benefits of Writing for Math and Science Learning (Part 2 of 5) | Edutopia http://bit.ly/psrXni



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Mark_Davis1

16 Jul 10, 06:19 PM

Brain Rules by John Medina has worked for me for two years with my ninth grade students. 

http://brainrules.net/film

Here is a link to parts of the film that accompany the book (the entire film is easy to find on youtube or vimeo for free).  The videos are hilarious and understandable by my students.

Also good, is that the science presented in the book is solid, as opposed to so much else out there that is simply anecdotal.  For example, he only uses studies in the book that have been peer reviewed, published in journals, and repeated...twice.  

I have read much about the brain since discovering this book that kicked off my interest with brain compatible learning. This one is still the best that I have found.

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Judy_Willis

03 Jun 10, 12:28 PM

Learning to Love Math: Teaching Strategies That Change Student Attitudes and Get Results

 

JUDY WILLIS, M.D.

 

 

 

Has it ever seemed to you that some students are hardwired to dislike math? If so, then here’s a book that explains how negative attitudes toward math get established in the brain and what you can do to turn those attitudes around. Math teacher and neurologist , Dr Judy Willis gives you over 50 strategies you can use right away in any grade level to

 


  • Rehabilitate negative attitudes about math.

  • Reduce mistake anxiety.

  • Relate math to students’ interests and goals.

 

Find out how a better understanding of your students’ brains can help you build foundational skills in math and other subjects and develop your students' long-term memory of academic concepts. Explore classroom interventions that help you

 


  • Change your students’ math intelligences by incorporating relaxation techniques, humor, visuals, and stories into your teaching.



 

Find out how a better understanding of your students’ brains can help you build foundational skills in math and other subjects and develop your students' long-term memory of academic concepts.

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Michael_Berkeley

07 Jan 10, 01:04 PM

Here is a permanent link to the article.  The link above will expire when the next issue of EL is posted.

http://www.ascd.org/publications/educational_leadership/dec09/vol67/num04/How_to_Teach_Students_About_the_Brain.aspx

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