Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Brain-Friendly Teaching

"Giving up a weekend day for Professional Development is at the top of my weekend priority list"...said no teacher ever.  Except if you are a teacher or principal at Goodrich School. 

A few weeks ago, eight teachers and Dr. Scaletta participated in a Kagan workshop called Brain-Friendly Teaching given by Dr.Spencer Kagan.  (Dr. Kagan helped pioneer the cooperative learning movement in the 1960's.)  It was one of the most fascinating professional workshops that I have been to in a very long time.

What is Brain Friendly Teaching? It is teaching that is aligned with how the brain naturally learns. During this workshop, Dr. Kagan presented 6 powerful ways that classrooms should be structured and gave tools, tips, and structures for students so they could learn quicker, retain, recall, and like learning more.

Meaningful Engagement! This is the premise behind the Kagan approach.  Through cooperative learning students are engaged.  They are motivated.  They pay attention.  They learn more.  Kagan structures require every student to participate frequently and equally in a safe environment...nobody hides and everyone is accountable! 

As the day went on, Dr. Kagan's message was clear.  Teachers have a choice...teach using traditional methods or teach the way we know students' brains learn best.  We left the workshop that day re-energized with a good understanding of how the brain works and why we need to teach with the brain in mind.

On any given day, at any given time you can walk into Goodrich School and see teachers using Brain-Friendly teaching.  Not only do our students benefit, but teachers benefit too because the student's motivation and achievement are high!

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