Learning Theories

Now I am not a scientist nor a neurologist so this will not be a technical explanation. However, my purpose is to show that certain things need to be done in order to help process the information you learn in class and read in the textbook so that you can do well on your exams.

I don’t know if you’ve ever thought about it like this, but learning is a science.  Really it is and there are countless scientists researching how we teachers should be teaching so you students learn better. And as always, the “good” teachers will try to incorporate these lessons into their teaching and the “should retire” teachers will go on lecturing- for hours and hours! My goal is to show you what you should be doing to help you learn the information, even with the droning lecturers.

The Triune Brain Theory breaks your brain down into three categories:

Reptilian Brain – Controls the functions we do not think about (heart beating, lungs breathing, blood flowing, etc.)
*   Needs basics to survive (food, water, shelter, sleep, etc)

Limbic Brain- Emotional part of brain that concerns itself with bonding and attachment
*   Need emotional connections to satisfy this part of brain

Neocortex Brain
- Thinking part of the brain that processes high level thoughts
*   Needs to be challenged


So if you are going to use your entire brain in class:

1.  Get enough sleep before class. You need a minimum of 6 hours. There is a science behind that but the quick and dirty reason is 6 seems to be the magic number for processing information in your brain. REPTILIAN BRAIN

2.  Eat before class. You need fuel to stay awake, especially in the boring lectures! Be careful not to give yourself a sugar high, try to eat something healthy.  REPTILIAN BRAIN

3.  Get paper, pens and highlighters out to take notes. Taking notes not only helps you stay awake, it is one of the most crucial things to moving information from the short term to long term memory (even for you auditory learners).  REPTILIAN BRAIN

4.  Try to relate to the information. Think of funny stories, think of examples, think of anything just try to relate the information you are learning to your personal life; thereby making an emotional connection. This is the MOST important step since information that is relevant is often information that we store in our brain! LIMBIC  BRAIN

5.  Participate in discussions, ask questions, talk to your neighbor, do anything to get involved in class.  You increase the likelihood of remembering the information if you talk about it. Ok again there is a whole scientific perspective on this but the quick and dirty, when you talk about it, you have already processed it in your brain (or you could not talk about it intelligently).  NEOCORTEX BRAIN

I know you believe that you can multitask in class, but I am telling you now, research says you cannot.  You CANNOT text and listen! Your brain can only do one thing at a time in each of the hemispheres- so when you are in class focus the hemisphere on learning.

These simple steps and a better understanding of using your brain to learn will help you best use class time.


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