Tuesday, March 31, 2009

What's the Point?

Recently I attended a conference with Eric Jensen* of Jensen Learning. Eric has been on the forefront of brain-based teaching and learning. He has organized and led many conferences on teaching kids and adults in ways that connect to how the brain learns.

My Biggest Takeaway
Our learning is ROUGH DRAFT learning. People only learn the gist of what you teach. They listen to what you say and think, "Oh, this is what he's saying." That's all they learn. The listeners cannot know what you know because they don't know how you know it; they do not have the same context as you.

So, how do you deal with this fact? As you are teaching, identify the most important thing to be learned and stick to that point. Everything else you say or do should connect and support that main point. Since people will only get the gist of what you said, make sure what you say is connected to that one thing. Use repetition and reflection. Talk about your point...after a little time, repeat it or get them to repeat it...after some time repeat or use the information in some way. Make "gist learning" work for you.

As we teach, we must choose activities, words, and visuals that will support the one main point. The story, the verse, the art, the pictures, the songs—all should support the application that I want kids to take from the teaching time. They are only going to get the gist of what I'm saying so I need to choose what that gist will be - and support it with everything that I do.

I've been interested in brain-based teaching for a while...but this conference extended my interest even further. I'm still thinking about how these things relate to teaching preschoolers and kindergartners, especially in a church setting. I'm sure you'll hear more about that in the future.

*Eric Jensen's latest book is Enriching the Brain. I haven't read it yet, but it's on my list.

Clip art licensed from the Clip Art Gallery on DiscoverySchool.com.

1 comment:

  1. Well said! I think you got the gist of that afternoon ... and articulated it well.