Teaching to transform the brain

Presented by John Pelley on September 13, 2012 at 12:00 pm

It is not surprising that the term “transformation” has multiple uses in educational thought. Information is transformed into knowledge, the brain is transformed physically, and learners are transformed into self-directed producers of their own understanding. This presentation will help teachers better understand both their role and the student’s role in these transformation events.

Learning always follows the same biological process involving a physical change in the brain. This change, termed consolidation, is not just limited to long-term memory, but occurs for any part of the learning process. The conscious use of any given functional area of the brain will, therefore, consolidate that part of the learning process. The Experiential Learning Cycle (ELC) proposed by Kolb is a Constructivist model that can has been matched by Zull to the major functional areas of the cerebral cortex to provide insight into the use of teaching strategies. It will be proposed here that each functional area of the brain represents a different learning skill. The development of neglected learning skills through Deliberate Practice (DP) automatically produces self-directed problem solvers by balancing the ELC. Teacher-directed DP spontaneously evolves into learner-determined DP resulting in lifelong maintenance of expert learning skills. As such, this presentation will provide an argument that learning skills can be developed through DP, just as with clinical skills – because clinical skills, after all, are learning skills.

It will be helpful but not essential if attendees visit Dr. Pelley’s website at www.ttuhsc.edu/SOM/success and download the free book, SuccessTypes.

Presenter Bios

John PelleyDr. Pelley is a professor in the Department of Cell Biology and Biochemistry at the Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center School of Medicine. During his tenure at Texas Tech he served for a decade as an Associate Dean in administration of the medical school curriculum. The challenges of helping students with learning issues caused him to acquire a strong interest in the learning process and he has spent the last 25 years working on educational projects instead of bench research. He has written a book, SuccessTypes, that summarizes his experience with learning styles and speaks regularly around the country at medical schools helping faculty, staff and students understand how to promote lifelong learning. He has been awarded the Alpha Omega Alpha Distinguished Teacher Award at the 2010 meeting of the American Association of Medical Colleges. His website, The SuccessTypes Medical Education page, is used as an educational resource at medical schools and other educational institutions around the world.