In this clip Vicky Krug, professor of developmental education at Westmoreland County Community College talks about learning and having to learn something over and over again, but the necessity for it to engage you, the learner, on multiple senses. Cue Jeremy Mettler, a social studies teacher at Batavia High School. HIs students are presently learning about the Suez Canal. They have already had the in-class component of the learning - the backstory and events leading up to the Suez Canal. Here they are going to walk around the school and document the time it takes, reminiscent of the distance boats would have to travel down and around the southern tip of Africa, the pre-Suez Canal travel route. Along the way they’ll have lots of obstacles like shifting weather patterns and pirates. Then they are going to take a shortcut to return to their starting point and note the time difference, as well as, any changes in obstacles and ease.
A lot of learning involves repetition. The trick is, to not have it *feel* like repetition.
Mettler says, “I had to get comfortable with having them up and moving. In class, everything is contained. It feels comfortable. When you leave the classroom, or even when you have them up and moving, it starts to feel chaotic, very quickly.”
Memory is a funny beast. How we feel, what we were doing, who we were with, and even smells, all play a role in retrieving memories. At this stage in the learning process, where you want students to be able to retrieve the new information at a later date, you have to, give them different ways to create new patterns. In Mettler’s case, “When they get to a question on the Panama Canal I want them to remember us walking around the school then cutting through the hallway and realizing it was way faster to cut through. I tell my students to just picture me next to them saying, and then what.”
Check out Mettler and Krug in Grey Matters:Teaching the way the brain learns, a feature documentary linking learning and the brain sciences, available for purchase.
For more information on the Brain Targeted Teaching Model check out www.braintargetedteaching.org or purchase the book.