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.