"how Shall We Teach Them and How Shall They Learn?": A Perspective of Effective Brain-Based Learning
Autor: Kill009 • July 5, 2011 • Essay • 2,417 Words (10 Pages) • 829 Views
"How Shall We Teach Them and How Shall They Learn?":
A Perspective of Effective Brain-Based Learning
Final Research Paper
PSY 370: Learning and the Brain
May 17, 2010
Why are students and schools failing? So many schools across this country have
already closed, while some are in the process of closing now. The student drop-out rate
has escalated unbelievably and the numbers of educators losing their jobs is astounding.
Why is this happening? There are many reasons, as well as a number of excuses, that can
account for such a phenomenon. However, one extremely crucial factor behind
school/student failure is the direct failure to educate students according to their interests,
abilities combined with an academically structured agenda.
As educators, how shall we teach our students? As students, how shall they learn from
us. What is the solution for successful teaching and learning to take place in our
educational institutions? A brain-based curriculum is the solution and we are the
catalysts. Only brain-based learning can bridge the gap between educators and students to
ensure that the learning process is successful and is deemed useful to students as they
progress throughout life. The two questions posed in the title of this work will soon be
met with the same response. Take a journey with me first.
So much talk goes on about the brain, but most people do not understand the
physiology of the brain. The human brain is comprised of two hemispheres: the left brain
and the right brain. Subjecting students to a rigorous curriculum, solely designed to
assess strict academic performance is left brain activity. Spontaneous, go-with-the-flow,
learning through experience is more of a right-brain approach. Brain-based learning
incorporates both approaches to form a balance and to ensure a student's overall
While incorporating brain-based strategies enables academic achievement, distress can
very well disable all efforts for a student to excel. A threat is anything or anyone that
causes a sense of fear, mistrust or anxiety (pg. 43). When a student perceives a threat to
harm them in any way, whether it be physical, intellectual or emotional, distress sets in.
Distress is a chronic form of stress that leads to dis-ease. The sources of a student's
distress can be home or school, depending on the factors. Physical, intellectual and
emotional distress can arise as a result of bullying from other students, not meeting
certain academic expectations or even experiencing embarrassment or humiliation among
peers. Many times, schools are so focused on meeting quotas and grade averages that the
students who are not excelling fall between the cracks. It is very stressful for a student to
try to keep up academically, while his/her peers are meeting the demands of the
institution and he/she is not. Whatever the case, distress negatively affects a student's
When a student is threatened physically, intellectually or emotionally the brain
triggers a sense of fear and anxiety, causing a release in cortisol. Cortisol is a helpful
hormone that is released by the brain, providing a source of energy. Although helpful,
excessive amounts prove to be chronic over long periods of time. Constant worrying and
stress leads to this excessive production, which then leads to illness. Most students suffer
from distress to the point that academics suffer. School attendance becomes little to none.
Test scores are poor, or tests are missed.
This excessive production of cortisol compromises the brain's local memory, ability to
index information and narrows perception. The body's immune system is also affected.
High levels of cortisol kills brain cells and lessens the release of another necessary
hormone; serotonin. When serotonin levels fall, the capacity for violence arises (pg.
45). Distress also heightens the release of vasopressin, a hormone linked to aggression. In
short, distress causes great chemical imbalances and physical disturbances within a
student's brain. With brain-based strategies added to a curriculum, the students are
allowed the opportunity and freedom to learn while expressing their own creativity, gain
positive relationships with other students and teachers through healthy social
connections, and enhance their academic interests and involvement.