Saturday, July 9, 2011

Brain Rules

Brain Rules by John Medina is my current obsession. With a simple set of rules and the neuroscience to back it up, he presents the best ways to learn, the complications that we face in learning and some solutions that make perfect sense given the direction that we need to head in education.

This point, about recognition of vocabulary, in particular attracts my attention as a Latin teacher. I've sung the attributes of Wordchamp, but Brain Rules shows not only why it works but how to make it even better-something that is a constant challenge. We know that when students practice new vocabulary with a picture they hold onto the knowledge longer-but how do we increase the power of the connection and make sure that no matter the context, the learning is maintained? Well, the research here says that one of the options we should be making more use of is showing the picture, and saying the word aloud WITHOUT the text below the picture. Not every time, but definitely at certain times in the learning process. Why? The visual interpretation of the writing of the word can create interference-we can get a stronger, more direct connection by using the picture/sound combo especially if it's got a good emotional trigger.

More cards like this:

So how should I apply this? I have stacks of hundreds of vocabulary "cards" in wordchamp, and I need to examine them to make sure the picture is on the right mark, and also make copies of the sets WITHOUT the text, and assign the students the task of viewing/listening (which is easily done in wordchamp). After they hit okay, the student hears a voice say the correct word.

Next, attention and multitasking.

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