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Brain-Based Education

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A brain-based education expands—and fuels the self-guided growth of—one’s horizons. It develops the intellect and inculcates the spirit of inquiry for a lifelong pursuit of learning. The measure of education, far from being the level or even the um of formal schooling, rests more in the degree of open-mindedness and active mental engagement it engenders. Any institution that relies on professionals for success and seeks to maintain an authentic learning climate for individual growth must require its members to read (to gain knowledge and insight), discuss (to appreciate opposing views and subject their own to rigorous debate), investigate (to learn how to ask good questions and find defensible answers), and write (to structure thoughts and articulate them clearly and coherently).

Whether one chooses pen or sword may depend on whether one believes knowledge is power. That belief, in turn, may hinge on how knowledge is defined and power understood. Can the expression of ideas move others as swiftly, as effectively, and as permanently as the use of force or the lure of riches? Does truth—or simply the command of ideas—provide leverage over others? Are ideas weapons? If so what is the remote role of idea dispensation through writing.

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The approach requires a mastery way of application and execution. This should be guided by the core principles which state that every person is born with a brain that functions as an immensely powerful processor. Thus the ability to learn, innately search for meaning through emotional patterning, focus attention and perceive peripherally are orchestrated by challenge and factual connection. Through the three instructional techniques associated with this approach, the learner is the central focus of attention. The three are orchestrated immersion, relaxed alertness and active processing.  This is unlike traditional schooling which inhibits learning by discouraging, ignoring, or punishing the brain’s natural learning processes.

The foundations will be laid on the comprehension of brain based learning theory.&nbp;  According to Jensen (1998) brain-based learning is a comprehensive approach to instruction using current research from neuroscience. It emphasizes on the ability of the brain to learn naturally and is based on what we currently know about the actual structure and function of the human brain at varying developmental stages. Latest research has made it possible to offer educational techniques that are brain friendly providing a biologically driven framework for creating effective instruction. It also helps explain recurring learning behaviors, and is a meta-concept that includes an eclectic mix of techniques. Currently, related techniques stress allowing teachers to connect learning to students' real lives and emotional experiences, as well as their personal histories and experiences.

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Complex and interactive experiences that are both real and rich in the target language culture are an efficient avenue through which the brain’s ability to parallel the language processing can be exploited (Doll 2006). Challenging for the state of alertness is the student’s personal meaningful awareness which stimulates the desired levels necessary for language learning. The ultimate goal of educators is to help students have appropriate experiences and then capitalize on those experiences to give meaning to the ideas and concepts they intend to teach. Intensive situational analysis gives diverse insight about a real problem, a process referred to as active processing of information. The desired feedback should come from a reality not due to exerted authority. Exposure to realistic problems is essential for the learning process with detailed attention well attributed to the big picture.

Some may question as to whether brain changes reflect in other areas of study and in academics. It has been shown however, that writing has positive influences on improving knowledge and skills in core academic courses and can aid the student with cognitive development (Johnson & Memmott, 2004; Portowitz & Klein 2007; Geist & Geist, 2008; Eady & Wilson, 2004). It has also been shown that neural networks share processes so that different types of thinking and activities may intersect (Sousa, 2006). In Canaada, a group of researchers reviewed students over a four-year period and discovered that students who studied mainly through their written notes received higher scores in mathematics, history, German, French, handicraft and music (Wetter, et al., 2008). It has been shown that the length of time that a student writes  the greater the impact of written notes on academics and on the IQ (Wetter, et al., 2008).

This type of thinking whether from the smallest of increments to the whole, from the whole to the smallest of increments, as convergent thinking or divergent thinking, all allow the student to begin to think in unique ways. By encouraging students to consider how they are thinking about a subject through writing, a teacher encourages students to develop their thinking skills.

The sequencing of the curriculum should be a combined pattern of both part to whole and whole to part depending on the lesson plan for the day (Armstrong, 2003). Creative writing allows for an either or view in how it is taught. For creative expression to be experienced, both sequencing types should be taught through the use of the curriculum. Thematic-topic sequencing should be used at times to reinforce previous units and to explore additional student needs and interests (Armstrong, 2003).

Writing allows the student to become the center of the teaching experience. Teachers become coaches and mentors to help students produce an effective product that reflects depth and understanding of content. This encourages mindful engagement where student's actions notify thinking and thinking informs action (Blair, 2009). When teachers are the center of the classroom student leadership is not developed (Scruggs, Freer, & Myers, 2009). Allowing students to come into the classroom and express their own knowledge and experience through writing gives the teacher a beginning place for teaching. Discovering the student's strengths and helping students find a leadership role in the classroom becomes an important part of effective teaching (Scruggs et al., 2009). By allowing students to help in the evaluative process, students are encouraged to lead and develop their academic skills. 

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