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10 Strategies to build brain learning and retention

10 Strategies to Improve Student Learning & Retention

What Is Brain-Based Learning?

Brain-based learning involves teachers creating conditions that increase student motivation, engagement and long-term retention by tapping into the natural ways the brain receives, processes and stores information.

This approach can be applied to classroom teaching methods, lesson planning, curriculum design and any other educational engagement.

As long as the planning and delivery is rooted in the latest research on the science of learning, it’s considered brain-based instruction.

The research in question centers primarily around the brain’s ability to change and reorganize itself to receive and retain new information in a process called neuroplasticity.

New information and experiences can physically reshape the brain’s neural pathways; the more we practice new skills or review new information, the stronger those pathways become and the better we retain the information or ability.

Our brain’s neuroplasticity is influenced, both positively and negatively, by motivation, stress and challenge, as well as our emotional state as we’re learning.

Understanding how neuroplasticity works (especially in young, developing brains) can help curriculum designers and educators build lessons that are more likely to “stick.”

When students master new concepts or gain new skills in the classroom, teachers see this neuroplasticity in action. Perhaps Dr. David Sousa, an educational neuroscience consultant, puts it best: “Successful teachers are brain-changers!”

Certainly! Here are 10 strategies that can help in building brain learning and retention:

1. Regular Exercise: Physical activity enhances cognitive function and memory by increasing oxygen flow to the brain.

2. Healthy Diet: Consuming foods rich in antioxidants, omega-3 fatty acids, and vitamins can support brain health and improve learning and memory.

3. Break Learning into Chunks: Divide information into smaller, manageable parts to aid in better understanding and retention.

4. Adequate Sleep: Good quality sleep is crucial for memory consolidation and learning. Aim for 7-9 hours of sleep per night.

5. Mindfulness and Meditation: Practicing mindfulness and meditation can reduce stress, improve focus, and enhance memory retention.

6. Active Learning Techniques: Engage in active learning methods like summarizing, teaching others, or practicing retrieval through quizzes to reinforce learning.

7. Visualization Techniques: Create mental images or diagrams to associate with the information being learned, aiding in better recall.

8. Spaced Repetition: Review material at spaced intervals to reinforce memory retention rather than cramming it all at once.

9. Utilize Multiple Senses: Engage multiple senses (sight, sound, touch) when learning to stimulate different areas of the brain, enhancing memory formation.

10. Stay Curious and Engaged: Continuously learning new things, staying intellectually engaged, and challenging your brain with novel activities can improve cognitive function and retention.

Implementing these strategies in daily life can significantly contribute to enhancing learning and memory retention over time.

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