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Whole Brain 1

Whole Brain Teaching Amber White Glen Allen High School

Whole Brain 2 In 2012 the United States scored 36th in math, 24th in reading, and 28th science on the international PISA test (Sedghi, Arnett, & Chalabi, 2013). These scores have been continuously dropping since 2000, showing that the United States in need of education reform. In 1999 Chris Biffle, Jay Vanderfin, and Chris Rekstad decide to change education through the invention and implementation of whole brain teaching and since then has been making its way to the top of reform in the United States (Biffle, n.d.). The question now stands how will incorporating whole brain learning increase students learning capabilities and classroom efficiency? Over the years knowledge of how the brain works has greatly increased allowing for educational advances to be made. Terms typically associated with cognitive process such as amygdala and hippocampus have now made their way into the educational world (Schacter, 2012). In linking education with the knowledge of cognitive processes standards of education can be changed and teaching processes can be shaped to create the most effective learning process (Schacter, 2012). The processes of the left and right hemisphere of the brain differ, the left being more analytical and the right being more abstract. However, creating an environment in which both hemispheres are utilized active learners are created (Tipton, (n.d.)). Through a study at the MIND Research Institute it was found that learning cannot take place unless students are active (Schacter, 2012). These activities could include doing a puzzle, using manipulatives, or physical movement like dance (Schacter, 2012). One of the most prominent activities is Teach-Ok (Tipton, (n.d.) or reciprocal teaching (Schacter, 2012). Which promotes the use of both hemispheres thus translating what has been found through neuroscience research into the classroom (Sparks, 2012)? The common myth that the brain is hard-wired has been found to be untrue those extensive neuroscience research (Sparks, 2012). In the end, the brain has much more plasticity than once though, helping to enforce that the correct learning process used in the

Whole Brain 3 classroom is vital to a students educational growth (Sparks, 2012). Now that the gap has been bridged between neuroscience and education the way in which it is implemented in a classroom requires several steps. Each step provides either help towards classroom management or classroom engagement. The first is the Class-Yes which is used to bring attention to the teacher through the use of mimicry (Tipton, (n.d.)). The second step is the repetition and enforcement of classroom rules at the beginning of each lesson in order to ensure that the behavior is managed and the lesson can continue with the least amount of disruption (Tipton, (n.d.)). Teach-OK, the third step is probably the most vital part of implementing whole brain teaching in the classroom. This step allows the teacher to give part of the lesson, and then become the facilitator as the students reteach the lesson to their partners (Tipton, (n.d.)). The other steps help ensure that these steps can be implemented through a reward system and mirroring the teacher (Tipton, (n.d.)). Implementing these steps has been proven to be the best way to incorporate all part of the brain while learning and schools who have implemented it have seen an increase in student achievement (Calhoun, 2012). Through the use of both hemispheres of the brain the students become more engaged and therefore exhibit better retention of information (Calhoun, 2012). While whole brain teaching has been found to increase student achievement it has also been found that it helps with classroom management. In classrooms with disengaged students the achievement and retention of information is limited. In a study conducted by Jesame Palasigue in a Detroit elementary school she found that disengagement was high, with 13% of the class having their head on their desks and 11% saying they were bored among other disengaged behaviors (2009) . After implementing whole brain teaching in the classroom Palasigue found that the environment created by it was one in which the students were more engaged and

Whole Brain 4 involved (Palasigue, 2009). As far as disengaged behavior, it was found that the number of children who had their head on their desk decreased by 53% and those who said they were bored decreased by 72% (Palasigue, 2009). In just a week of observations it was found that there was an average of a 72% decrease in disengaged behavior, helping to prove that the implementation of whole brain teaching creates not only better performance but also better behavior (Palasigue, 2009). Based on the literature available the benefits of whole brain teaching can be seen not only in student achievement but also in classroom behavior. Bridging the gap between neuroscience and education can help prove that incorporating both hemispheres of the brain can be done through interactive lessons that use kinesthetic and stationary activities which create better attention and therefore better retention of information. By creating an environment in which students pay better attention the behaviors associated with disengagement are limited and the classroom functions more smoothly.

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References Biffle, C. (n.d.). Whole brain teachers of america. Retrieved from http://www.wholebrainteaching.com/index.php?option=com_k2&view=item&layout=ite m&id=135&Itemid=105 Calhoun, C.F. (2012). Brain-based teaching: does it really work?. Retrieved from http://files.eric.ed.gov/fulltext/ED535937.pdf

Palasigue, J.T. (2009). Integrating whole brain teaching strategies to create a more engaged learning environment. Retrieved from http://files.eric.ed.gov/fulltext/ED507407.pdf Schacter, A. (2012). Neuroscience in schools. Retrieved from http://www.districtadministration.com/article/neuroscience-schools

Sedghi, A., & Arnett, G., & Chalabi, M. (2013). Pisa 2012 results: which country does best at reading, maths and science?. Retrieved from http://www.theguardian.com/news/datablog/2013/dec/03/pisa-results-country-bestreading-maths-science#_ Sparks, S.D. (2012). Scientists find learning is not hard-wired. Retrieved from http://www.edweek.org/ew/articles/2012/06/06/33neuroscience_ep.h31.html Tipton, A. (n.d.) Whole brain teaching. Retrieved from http://ashleytipton.weebly.com/whole-brain-teaching.html