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What is Brain-Based Learning?

Ken Black
Ken Black

Brain-based learning is a concept that suggests that as long as the brain is not hindered from learning, then learning will occur. In order to accomplish this, a variety of techniques could be introduced to the curriculum, including getting proper rest, nutrition, comfort, and ways of dealing with stress. Most techniques involving brain-based learning is a comprehensive measure involving more than one element, or at least multiple sub-elements. The learning strategy has shown good results among some students, and studies indicate that it represents a good approach.

When looking at brain-based learning considerations, one of the most important elements is to make sure an individual is properly nourished. This may not only include foods that stimulate brain activity, such as proteins, fruits, vegetables, and wheat germ. These foods generally have fair amounts of amino acids that help to spur the production of dopamine, which can help individuals focus more, but can also cause jitters if too much is produced. Therefore, finding a balance with other foods is necessary.

Proper nourishment is important to brain-based learning.
Proper nourishment is important to brain-based learning.

One of the other major hindrances to brain-based learning is lack of proper sleep. In cases where the brain is deprived of rest, more stress and poor performance could result, further putting demands on the brain. This cycle could lead to more mistakes and less remembering until the cycle is finally broken, and rest is restored. Symptoms of lack of sleep may not appear immediately and each individual may require a slightly different amount to keep performing optimally.

The other thing that plays a major role in brain-based learning is the management of stress. Although stress is impossible to avoid, there are ways to mitigate its negative effects. One of the easiest ways to do this is to practice deep breathing techniques, as well as stretching and other wellness measures. Some teachers may incorporate this into a regular part of the school day. One example, especially for younger children, is the use of recess to provide a break for children and give them a chance to exercise and relieve stress.

Once teachers begin to follow a brain-based learning theory, they may find that each child reacts somewhat differently to what is happening. Some may regress, but others may find it is a good technique to learn quickly. This may be more of an anxiety about a new routine, than a reflection of the overall effectiveness of the program. If no improvement is seen after a period of weeks, some adjustment to the routine may be necessary.

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    • Proper nourishment is important to brain-based learning.
      By: James Steidl
      Proper nourishment is important to brain-based learning.