Below are excerpts of articles on brain research findings and implications for education. The articles appeared in the November 1998 issue of Educational Leadership, a journal of the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development.
““Three principles from brain research – emotional safety, appropriate challenge and self-constructed meaning – suggest that a one-size-fits-all approach to classroom teaching is ineffective for most students and harmful to some.”
–Carol Ann Tomlinson and M. Layne Kalbfleisch,
“Teach Me, Teach My Brain: A Call for Differentiated Classrooms.”
“The brain takes in data only through the sensory perceptions that enter through the windows of the body’s five senses.”
– Lawrence Lowery, “How New Science
Curriculums Reflect Brain Research.”
“Finding One: The brain changes physiologically as a result of experience. The environment in which a brain operates determines to a large degree the functioning ability of that brain…Enriched environments unmistakably influence the brain’s growth and learning.
Finding Two: IQ is not fixed at birth.
Finding Three: Some abilities are acquired more easily during certain sensitive periods, or ‘windows of opportunity.
Finding Four: Learning is strongly influenced by emotion…Emotion plays a dual role in human learning. First it plays a positive role in that the stronger the emotion connected with an experience, the stronger the memory of that experience…In contrast, if the emotion is too strong (for example, the situation is perceived by the learner to be threatening), then learning is decreased.”
– Pat Wolfe and Ron Brandt,
“What Do We Know from Brain Research?”
“From fine-tuning muscular systems to integrating emotion and logic, the arts have important biological value…Emotion and attention (which are central to all activity in the arts) often lead us to important rational behaviors that wouldn’t have emerged if we hadn’t walked through that arts-enhanced doorway. Emotion drives attention, and attention drives learning, problem solving, behavior, and just about everything else.”
– Robert Sylwester, “Art for the Brain’s Sake.”
“New brain research shows not only that music is fun, but also that it improves our brain development and even enhances skills in other subjects such as reading and math…Music has the ability to facilitate language acquisition, reading readiness, and general intellectual development; to foster positive attitudes and to lower truancy in middle and high school; to enhance creativity; and to promote social development, personality adjustment and self-worth.”
– Norman M. Weinberger, “The Music in Our Minds.”
“Research shows that students who talk about how they and others think become better learners. The theory of mind that children acquire in the preschool years provides the conceptual foundation for the metacognitive skills they require in school.”
– Janet Wilde Astington, “Theory of Mind Goes to School.”
In December 1999, the Texas Education Agency (TEA) released the Prekindergarten Curriculum Guidelines. These guidelines articulate what 3- and 4-year-old students should know and be able to do in the foundation and enrichment areas. They provide a means to align prekindergarten programs with the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS). Use of the guidelines by school districts is voluntary. The guidelines address the following areas: language and early literacy, mathematics, science, social studies, fine arts, health and safety, personal and social development, physical development, and technology applications. Copies of the guidelines document may be purchased from Publications Distribution, Texas Education Agency, PO Box 13817, Austin, Texas 78711-3817; or downloaded from the TEA web site: http://www.tea.state.tx.us/curriculum/early/prekguide.html.
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[©2000, IDRA. This article originally appeared in the IDRA Newsletter by the Intercultural Development Research Association. Every effort has been made to maintain the content in its original form. However, accompanying charts and graphs may not be provided here. To receive a copy of the original article by mail or fax, please fill out our information request and feedback form. Permission to reproduce this article is granted provided the article is reprinted in its entirety and proper credit is given to IDRA and the author.]