After watching the Whole Brain Teaching videos, the more apprehensive I got in think of how I would incorporate it into my classroom. In the video I watched were of college and high school students who were really engaged with their teacher, and seemed very enthusiastic at learning. I said to myself that would not work with my middle and high school students, who many of them have been expelled from regular school due to behavioral issues. However I asked myself “ Why wouldn’t I want my students to be excited and enthused about learning”?
Then I realized that what was in the video was not the first day, it had taken over a period of time to develop and what I was watching was the outcome of the both the teacher and student participation. The more I read about Whole Brain Teaching the more I became sold that it really was still direct instruction, sharing of information and providing immediate feedback to students, and making teaching and learning fun. I would immediately start by incorporating the Step # 5 “ eyes and hands” of the Whole Brain Teaching method as part of my everyday classroom.
This step gives instructs my students to pay very close attention to what I’m doing or say or mimicking my words or movements. This technique is very helpful when covering a key transition area in the lesson which I’m teaching. I would have to make a few modifications for some of my ESE students, such as differentiating my direct instruction through different modalities. By doing this I can still keep each students attention, and allows me as a teacher to dynamically engage each of my students in the lesson by integrating different teaching techniques into one lesson. I would also incorporate the Step # 7 “ Switch”.
This step will be very vital to me because it moves away from the traditional teacher lecture model that all my students are used. Into creating a classroom where students are active learners through established routines, where I can be a facilitate learning and information to students teaching that information again to their peers. Incorporating Whole Brain Teaching within my classroom would be effective would be I would allow flexibility in rotating the steps if needed for my planned lesson or to incorporate other teaching aids such as an overhead projector, movie, song, or an IPad.
Although these steps are the central focus of the ” Whole Brain Teaching” model and movement, whole brain teaching does not center solely on these seven steps. The whole brain teaching movement also addresses the use of project assessments versus formative and summative formal tests as well as teaching that in general breaks away from the standard ” lecture” model. Whole brain teaching, in general seeks to Source: http://www. wholebrainteaching. com Why is Whole Brain Teaching a ” Best Practice? “
Whole brain teaching is considered a best practice, because this method of teaching seeks to empower students as learners. In most classrooms nation and worldwide, teaching remains direct instruction by a teacher who is ” more knowledgeable” transferring knowledge through lectures and worksheets all leading to a test. However, whole brain teaching attempts to break away from this norm and allow students to become the ” more knowledgeable ones” in control of teaching, while also taking attention away from tests and focusing on daily activities.
Although there is no agreed upon definition for a best practice, many organizations agree that a best practice is a research driven method which demonstrates success and can be replicated. I think that whole brain teaching meets every aspect of this definition and in some ways defies the norm for a best practice. I believe that because this method can be adapted to any age level, any group of students in any place, this practice may be one of the best, best practices. Current research suggests that the historical approach to learning, right brain and left brain, is no longer applicable.
According to Jill Bolte Taylor, author of My Stoke of Insight, ” Although each of our cerebral hemispheres processes information in uniquely different ways, the two work intimately together when it comes to just about every action we take” (Hermann-Nehdi, 38). Therefore, as teachers it is our duty to teach to the whole brain as opposed to the right or left hemisphere. Teaching to the whole brain requires establishing rituals and routines, stimulating emotions and allowing students to become active learners.
As Graham Tyrer puts it, ” Using the principles of whole brain learning, everyone is a potential genius” (8). If we as teachers embrace the differences each student brings to the table, while also incorporating fun active lessons into our teaching, there can be no room for failure. ” Teaching.. should encompass different alternative delivery options (materials, media, and methods)… allowing teachers to become facilitators instead of broadcasters of new information” (Jones, 1979). Whole brain teaching, in the 21st century classroom, incorporates music, dances, singing, chants, and technology based projects.
The goal is to liven up lessons with zany and upbeat actions and sayings while placing a major emphasis on students immediately re-teaching information to their peers” (Lindstrom, 2010). Whole-brain teaching centers on the use of active learning and rituals in the classroom where students become the teachers and teachers become merely ” facilitators of learning. ” The basis for Whole Brain Teaching, began with with one teacher’s problem classroom, led to research and the design of a new way of teaching. A theoretical background is provided from a constructivist point of view as a rationale for using Whole Brain Teaching in relation to Vygotsky’s Social Learning Theory and Wenger’s (2006) framework of Community Practice” (Macias & Macias).
Whole brain teaching breaks learning down into small segments with direct instruction leading to cooperative learning and instant feedback. Based on Vygotsky’s theory of the ” more knowledgeable other,” using WBT teachers transfer the role of more knowledgeable other to the students. Therefore, putting the students in control of their own learning.