Innovations in Teaching

Enriched Environments, Movement and Immediate Feedback

Creating an Enriched Environment

An enriched environment is one that focuses on sensory input. Large amounts of sensory input enable a student to grasp the concepts/information accurately and completely. Large amounts of sensory input causes physiological changes in the brain, resulting in learning.

Lesson Planning for the 19 Senses

-Maximize Sensory Input

-Being there and immersion provide the most sensory input

-In a typical classroom, 90 percent of the input consists of secondhand and symbolic input, which provide the least sensory input.

What does "Being There" really mean? Being there occurs when real things are studied in their real-world context, such as pond, lake or wetlands area, a mall, a factory, or a neighbor's backyard. All 19 senses are activated, producing maximum electrical and chemical activity in the brain. Input is rich, varied and plentiful.

What does "Immersion" really mean? Immersion happens when the real world context of "being there" is replicated. For example recreating an environment in your classroom, such as a pond, a carnival or city.

An Enriched Environment through Movement

How can movement help create an Enriched Environment?

Movement is essential to learning. As the Greeks observed, the mind and body are one. Movement is crucial to every brain function including memory, emotion, language and learning.

How do I implement movement into the curriculum?

-During direct instruction, illustrate points by using hands-on examples of the real thing.

-Assign tasks which require movement, such as using the body to makes shapes of the letter of the alphabet, mimic animal movements, perform plays etc.

An Enriched Environment through Immediate Feedback

Immediate Feedback is a necessary element in learning. An example of this would be when a child begins to talk and says something incorrectly, we correct the child, giving them correct pronunciation. Feedback is something we do without even thinking about it, it is a natural part of the learning process. The more immediate the feedback, the more accurate the learning.

How do I implement Immediate Feedback into the Curriculum?

-Design action oriented inquiries whose tasks provide natural, real-world feedback as the students carry out the inquiry

- Teach students to identify what they will need before they begin a learning task and how to tell if they are being successful

-Model and teach them to use self-talk to help them when they are feeling confused, bogged down, or discouraged.

-Increase the number of "teachers" by organizing students into learning clubs and encourage them to provide feedback to their peers.

-Limit your direct instruction to 16 minutes or less. Circulate among the students to give them immediate feedback individually and as a group.