- Brain-based learning is based on the latest research in neuroscience.
- Employing brain-based learning in a hybrid classroom can be challenging, but it is well worth the effort.
- A cloud-based communications platform that supports collaboration and active communication is key to implementing brain-based learning in a hybrid learning environment.
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Brain-based learning is a teaching style based on the latest in psychology, cognitive science, and neuroscience. In stressful times, it’s especially important to teach in the ways that children learn best. Here’s how to ensure that you’re using brain-based teaching techniques in your hybrid classroom.
What is brain-based learning?
Your students are always learning, and you are always teaching them. Are you doing it the right way? Brain-based learning is an approach that involves a teaching method that limits lectures and encourages exercise breaks, team learning, and peer teaching. It focuses on teaching techniques that center around neuroplasticity, which refers to the remapping of the brain’s connections that occurs when a person learns something new. It takes into account the wide diversity of students in your classroom and the different cognitive abilities that students have, as well as their specific stages of development.
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Tips to help you incorporate brain-based learning
Here are some tips to help you incorporate brain-based learning effectively.
1. Set a welcoming tone
People who feel good learn more. If your students feel safe, happy, and authentically welcomed to your classroom, they will be less stressed and more able to learn. Spending time at the beginning of each day to welcome your students will help them feel like they are part of a warm and kind community. If you’re working within a hybrid learning space such as RingCentral, you can also do this through a recorded welcome message, a check-in at the beginning of a live lesson, or a similar welcome at the beginning of a recorded lesson.
2. Do regular check-ins
Chronic stress is an issue for teachers, and it is also an issue for students. Stress makes it difficult for students to learn. As you work within your hybrid classrooms, do check-ins with the whole class and with individual students. Ask them how they are doing. Make school a positive space, and your students will become more enthusiastic learners.
3. Create vibrant and visual lessons
When you’re talking with your students, keep it short and visual. It’s harder to concentrate on lectures when they are on a screen, and it’s even harder to do so if those lectures don’t incorporate visual aids. Make sure your students have a communications platform where you can add images and videos into your core lessons and use them as extensions as well. More excitement equals more classroom engagement. If you are using RingCentral’s communications solution, it’s easy to leverage your learning management systems like Canvas, Blackboard, or D2L.
4. Ensure students have regular opportunities to connect
Students don’t mind listening for a few minutes, but they also need to talk. If some students are virtual and others are in person, or if the entire class is virtual for a time, having a communications platform that enables genuine communication is key to your students’ growth. They need time to process what they have learned and time to discuss ideas amongst themselves. Use live chat, and allow students to have time to work collaboratively on group projects and questions.
5. Create a wide variety of shorter learning opportunities
All learners are different, and that means that your lessons should incorporate many different types of learning into your hybrid classroom. Have short video lectures, pre-recorded information, digital downloads, and video extensions. RingCentral allows for annotations and transcriptions so you can ensure all learners have equal access to reach lessons. Add time for class discussions and group work. By changing things up, you’ll help each learner find a groove and connect with the class materials.
6. Step away from the computer
Movement and brain breaks help students learn, according to Edmentum. These breaks also help you regain focus and enthusiasm as the teacher. Whether you’re at school or in your virtual classroom, make an effort to create intentional breaks between online and quiet activities so that your students can jump, stretch, and socialize. Even if you’re teaching older students, they’ll appreciate the break. Movement also reduces stress, so students will feel calm and more ready to engage with the topic at hand.
7. Incorporate real-life, hands-on experiences
Hands-on learning solidifies your students’ learning. Depending on the age of your students and the subjects you teach, hands-on learning can be quite different. It might look like a group English project in which students act out different characters, or it could be a science project that students create at home or in the classroom. When you’re designing your online lessons, make sure you incorporate hands-on elements to help students synthesize and apply what they have learned.
8. Intentionally create groups
Whether your students are completing group projects in an online or an in-person environment, it’s important to intentionally create the groups so that they have a positive social experience. This helps students contribute and learn. According to Brain-Based Learning, you should “use targeted, planned, diverse social groupings with mentoring, teams and buddy systems.” This can be especially important if you’re pulling together groups in an online learning environment since it’s harder for you to overhear and support the social interactions in online groups.
9. Create a differentiated learning environment
Many students have learning differences such as ADHD and dyslexia, and while they may compensate for them during class, it is helpful for students to have many different opportunities to engage with the content. Many of the strategies mentioned above will help your students with learning differences. For instance, providing visual content students can watch and listen to, such as videos, will help students with dyslexia understand your lessons more clearly. Providing movement breaks and chunking your content will help your students with ADHD. The methods above not only work for your typical students, but they also help address and support some of the learning differences in your hybrid classroom.
Communications platforms make it easy to set up a hybrid learning environment
Transitioning to the hybrid classroom has been a challenge for many students and educators. However, it is possible for this mixed model to be very successful for students and teachers alike. While providing brain-based education in a hybrid learning environment might seem like yet another difficult task, with communications platforms like RingCentral, it is easy to set up a flexible, adaptive virtual learning environment. Talk with us and see how it works today.
Originally published Mar 14, 2022