BRAIN-BASED LEARNING: AN INTERACTIVE METHOD IN ENGLISH TEACHING

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By: Sri Sunarti

Widyaiswara

 

Abstract: Pembelajaran berbasis otak merupakan pembelajaran yang unik yang melibatkan emosi dan pemikiran kritis anak. Penerapan metode ini mampu menciptakan lingkungan aktif dalam pembelajaran. Memberikan kesempatan, mengenalkan beberapa kegiatan dan keterampilan berpikir tinggi ditujukan dan ditambahkan dalam elemen pelajaran dasar untuk menunjukkan aplikasi praktis dari pembelajaran berbasis otak. Bersama itu, elemen spesifik tradisional, metode pengajaran aktif yang dicampur dengan teori berbasis otak ilmiah, untuk menciptakan lingkungan belajar yang unik dan menyenangkan.

Keywords: pembelajaran berbasis otak, kemampuan, strategi

Abstract: Brain-based learning is a unique learning that involves emotions and critical thinking for children.  The application of this method is able to create an active environment in learning. Provide opportunities, introduce activities, and model higher of thinking skills were addressed and added into a basic teaching element to demonstrate the practical application of brain-based learning. Together, specific elements of traditional, active teaching methods were blended with scientific brain-based theory, to create a unique learning environment and enjoyable.

Keywords: brain-based learning, intelligence, strategy

INTRODUCTION

Brain is one of the largest and most complex organs in the human body. It is made up of more than 100 billion nerves that communicate in trillions of connections called synapses. It is a vastly complex and adaptive system with hundreds of billions of neurons and interneurons that can generate an astronomical number if neural nets, or groups of neurons acting in concert, from which our daily experience is constructed. All brains are unique and a product of interactions with different environments, generating a lifetime of different and varied experiences. Brain functions to think, move, learn and imitate. Brain is main source in learning, playing, singing, dancing and so on. In learning, we need some method in order to make the learning process enjoy and happy. Brain-based learning is one of learning method. Brain-based learning encompasses such experiences, and constitutes successful ways of educating both children and adults (Bonk & Graham, 2006).  Activities that revolve around experiential learning are hands-on activities such as projects, role playing, and creativity (Morris, 2010). Meaning, by applying brain-based learning, children will feel enjoy and easy in learning.

Brain-based learning refers to teaching methods, lesson designs, and school programs that are based on the latest scientific research about how the brain learns, including such factors as cognitive development—how students learn differently as they age, grow, and mature socially, emotionally, and cognitively. Brain-based learning is motivated by the general belief that learning can be accelerated and improved if educators base how and what they teach on the science of learning, rather than on past educational practices, established conventions, or assumptions about the learning process. For example, it was commonly believed that intelligence is a fixed characteristic that remains largely unchanged throughout a person’s life. However, recent discoveries in cognitive science have revealed that the human brain physically changes when it learns, and that after practicing certain skills it becomes increasingly easier to continue learning and improving those skills. Learning can improve brain function, resiliency and working intelligence effectively. It also has potentially far reaching implications for how schools can design their academic programs and how teachers could structure educational experiences in the classroom.

In brain-based learning, learning involves experiential learning. It is expected that the child will fall down the first few times without guidance, but will eventually master the activity of walking through experiential process. Brain-based learning also is suitable for children and adult people. Abravanel & Gingold (1985) stated that a child has to first learn to stand and balance before initial steps are taken. According to Kotulak (1996) in his book “Inside the Brain” stated that an enriched environment can contribute up to a 25% increase in the number of brain connections both early and later in life.

Based on the explanation above, brain-based learning requires a more systematic way of conceptualizing how learning takes place and how to facilitate. This article will explain some strategies in brain-based learning.

Discussion

Theory

Brain is the portion of the vertebrate central nervous system that is enclosed within the cranium, continuous with the spinal cord and composed of gray matter and white matter. It is the primary center for the regulation and control of bodily activities, receiving and interpreting sensory impulses, and transmitting information to the muscles and body organs. It is also the seat of consciousness, thought, memory and emotion. In other words, brain has functionally similar portion of the invertebrate nervous system. Gardner’s multiple intelligences theory that posits a number of dimensions of intelligence (linguistic, logical/mathematical, spatial, musical, body/kinesthetic, interpersonal and intrapersonal) is just one of a number of equally valid theories about intelligence and brain-based learning. Gardner himself has been frustrated by what he sees as reductionist thinking of many educational practitioners that talk the language, but walk using their old instructional strategies, diving up learning activities into distinct learning modalities to the exclusion of other dimensions. The brain allows to express its pattern-making behavior, creates coherency and meaning while, learning is best accomplished when the learning activity connected directly to physical experience.

Analysis

Brain-based learning can help teachers engage diverse learners, offer effective feedback that leads to deeper understanding, and create a rich learning environment that attends to students’ social and emotional needs along with their developing brains. These methods also help students represent their thinking visually, kinesthetically and phonetically. They deserve a place in your tool kit because they get the brain primed for learning. For young brains to retain information, they need to apply it. Information learned by rote memorization will not enter the study long term neural networks in the pre-frontal cortex (PFC) unless students have the opportunity to actively recognize relationships to their prior knowledge and apply new learning to new situations. There are some teaching strategies to help build executive function in your students by using brain-based learning. They are as follows:

1) Provide opportunities to apply learning

In teaching and learning process, teacher ask the students to do the activities, formative assessment, it facts move from rote memory to become part of the memory bank. These opportunities activate the isolated small neural networks of facts or procedures, which then undergo the cellular changes of neuroplasticity that link them into larger neural circuits of related information. These extensive neural circuits integrate new information when they are a) simultaneously activated and b) when they recognize patterns in common. These activities involve learner in learning and remembering something in long term memory.

2) Introduce activities to support developing executive function

In doing the activities, students need to be explicitly taught and given opportunities to practice using executive functions such as how to learn, study, organize, prioritize, review, and actively participate in class. Activities that can support executive function network development include comparing and contrasting, giving new examples of a concept, spiraled curriculum, group collaboration, open-ended discussions. Additionally, this function is developed when students summarize and symbolize new learning into new formats such as through the arts or writing across the curriculum. The students give opportunity to do the authentic assessment, student-centered activities, projects and discussion. Here are some ways to do in these activities:

  • make prediction
  • solve a variety of types of problems
  • pursue inquiries
  • analyze what information they need
  • consider how to acquire any skills or knowledge they lack to reach desirable goals

The value of learning of this activity is student-prompted information and skills. Students apply effort, collaborate successfully, ask questions, revise hypotheses, redo work and seek the foundational knowledge you need them to learn when they are motivated to solve the problems that are personally meaningful. By applying this, the students will know what they have to know.

3) Model higher thinking skills

In planning instruction, consider how and when you will model these higher thinking skills and provide opportunities for students to activate their developing executive function networks throughout the learning process.

a) Judgement

Promotes a students’ ability to monitor the accuracy of his or her work, and to analyze the validity of information heard or read was developed in this function. Techniques such as estimation with feedback and adjustment, editing and revising one’s own written work using rubric guidance, or evaluating websites using criteria to separate fact from opinion are examples of promoting the development of networks for judgement.

b) Prioritizing

In this function, the students can separate low relevance details from the main ideas of a text or topic of study. It also can guide students when they plan an essay, select information to include in notes, and evaluate word problems in math for the relevant data and promote one’s ability to combine separate facts into a broader concept with recognition of degrees of relevance and relatedness. It is developed as teacher guides students to organize, plan ahead, keep records of their most successful strategies, and use this information to make the most efficient use of their time.

c) Setting goals, providing self-feedback and monitoring progress

In this function, the students need guidance to recognize their incremental progress they make as they apply effort towards their larger goals.

d) Prior knowledge activation and transfer opportunities

In this function, the students can relate what they know from the past experiences to their current learning and tie it to the larger concept. When teacher provide learning by which students can apply new learning to multiple applications, teacher promotes the neural construction of larger conceptual networks that make the new information a valued tool and part of long-term memory. As example would be the use of the rules of magnetism and geographic facts to discover how to use a compass.

e) Metacognition

In this function, the students will come to recognize their own changing attitudes and achievement when teacher plans for and teach with mental manipulation for executive functions in mind. When students begin to experience and comment on these insights, consider sharing the processes you used to create the instruction that they respond to positively. The teacher manipulates challenges and creates something new as teacher’s found the authentic active learning opportunities that activated the students’ interest, perseverance and higher levels of thinking. It also builds the long-term memory and revises the students’ work, even when it has been completed. Here, the students are able to be active and collaborate as long learning process.

f) Making the case for investing in executive functions

In this function, the teachers should be able to make the students active and develop their greatest resources. The opportunities you provide for mental manipulations using these critical neural networks are precious gifts. These tools will empower them to achieve their highest potentials and greatest satisfaction as they inherit the challenges and opportunities of the 21st century.

g) Time well spent

Here, the teacher should be able manage the time to reach the learning goal. The material should be finished on time, so it doesn’t waste the exam time. The teacher promotes instruction for the activation that is needed for development of strong tracts of executive function and long-term memory will build better brains for its students. If the teacher doesn’t have to reteach “last year’s material”, it should be getting all those weeks of time at the beginning of each unit.

h) Take care of yourself

The teacher should be creative, imaginative, and motivate the students in learning process. It is one of teacher’s responsibility based on the lecture and teacher’s law. In learning, teacher is able to distinguish the students’ intelligence which one is have higher thinking and not.

Conclusion

Good planning, creativity, motivated, and critical thinking are part of brain-based learning. It can encourage the children to explore and learn something. Teacher should prepare lesson plan and model before teaching as well. Teachers and children can build a strong community of learners who see learning as an opportunity to be successful problem solvers while anticipating each new challenge as another exciting adventure.

References

Abravanel, E. & Gingold, H., (1985). Learning via observation during the second year of life. Developmental Psychology. 21(4). DOI: 10.1037/0012-1649.21.4.614. Retrieved from: http://psych.net.apa.org

Bonk, C.J., & Graham, C.R. (2006).  The handbook of blended learning, global perspectives, local designs. San Francisco, CA: Pfeiffer Publishing.

Kotulak, R. (1996). Inside the brain: Revolutionary discoveries of how the mind works. Andrew and Mcmeel. USA

Morris, L.T. (2010). Brain-based learning and classroom practice: A study investigating instructional methodologies of urban school teachers.  Proquest, L.L.C., Ed.D., Dissertation, Arkansas State University.  Retrieved from: http://ehis.ebscohost.com

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