Brains & Mindset
How can we help students learn more?
This is the plight of many children. They have a bad day, then at school it's near impossible to concentrate. Or maybe, they get a test back with a really low grade. Instead of striving to do better on the next test, they avoid all parts of the class, reasoning that they just can't do it; they've hit the bar. How do you help these students?
The Brain: Process of Thinking
The Limbic System
The amygdala is what causes so many problems with concentration when you're feeling down. It is essentially a routing system, which sends information on to either the reactive brain or the prefrontal cortex. The amygdala, if you're angry, sends information to the reactive brain, but if you're happy, it opens the way to the prefrontal cortex.
The hippocampus is known as the center of memory, and it lives up to the title. The hippocampus takes new information after it has passed through the amygdala, and compares it to old memories. If they match, it creates a new relational memory, and sends it on its way.
How does this impact us?
This can both help and hurt us- if the hippocampus doesn't do it's job properly, then you could wind up with deja vu or no connection at all. And if you're in a bad mood, then the amygdala will prevent the prefrontal cortex from getting much information, causing you to lose concentration. This also hurts students, so if you see a student in a bad mood, try to cheer them up a bit, otherwise they can't learn.
How does this impact us?
What is a Growth Mindset?
This, obviously, improves the students overall moral and determination. It makes students realize that learning really is fun, and so students take their learning beyond the classroom. Those with a fixed mindset instead think that the grade, the final product, is the best part of any journey, and rush to get there. They turn away from challenges, and, if faced with failure, lie, or say that it isn't meant for them. This is the plight of many students and teachers, who want everyone to have good grades, not feel challenged.
However, if students with a fixed mindset are in a bad mood, they will turn away from the subject, blaming their unhappiness on it. They will stop studying and turn away from the subject they used to enjoy, and drift into another area, only to turn down another challenge there.
If a student has a fixed mindset, turning away from a challenge only directs him farther away from school, instead of helping them find an area they sort of do well in. So how can you help these students?
Happiness and Learning
Judy Willis, "How to Teach Students About the Brain" Education Leadership:. Education Leadership, December 2009. Web. 02 Feb. 2016
The Science. "The Science." : The Growth Mindset. N.p., 2008. Web. 04 Feb. 2016.