Read and Respond

Please Read and Respond to Tim.

Neuroscience studies the nervous system and how it develops in regards to its structure and function. It focuses on the brain and its impact on behaviors and cognitive abilities (Nordqvist, 2020). In order to learn new concepts, pathways need to be created and strengthened in the brain. These pathways are responsible for transferring new educational knowledge from the working memory to the long term memory. The brain then activates neural pathways for every specific movement which is what creates muscle memory (Halo Neuroscience, 2019).

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A process known as plasticity is the brain’s ability to create and strengthen connections between neurons. When students first learn, no pathways are present, but they are created and developed as they learn through practice (Halo Science, 2019). Neuroscience fits into the theory of andragogy because it deals with changing long term memory. Andragogy promotes teachers as facilitators in the classroom and promotes an environment of inquiry based and self-directed learning. Allowing students to play an active role in their own learning created experiences for them allowing them to retain and recall these experiences. Since not all experiences affect people in the same way, it is essential to the learning process that individuals can make connections using the pathways of the brain (Sunyoung Park, 2016).

I did not know that neuroscience plays a large role in shaping pathways of adult learners. I always was under the impression that the formation of most long term memory occurred during childhood and through those learning experiences. While I know that adults are capable of learning new concepts and ideas, I also realize that it is much harder for the brain to adapt to new ideas as people increase in age. After watching the videos it now makes more sense to me why hands on teaching and the encouragement of being actively involved in a training or professional development is much more effective than being passively lectured.

Teaching and learning in the digital age is much different than it was before the introduction of technology. Generation Y, which encompasses many teachers and adult learners, is the first generation that grew up using computers and while it was not the primary source of learning, it was introduced into the academic environment. Teachers that make up Generation Y are now in a position of having a plethora of technology at their fingertips while teaching a generation that does not know how to function without it. Generation Z is a whole new generation of learners that are used to instant gratification and instant answers to their questions (Sprenger, 2010).

I belong to neither of the above generations so teaching in the digital age is a struggle for me. Sprenger (2010) offers many techniques that can help teachers teach their students with the technology that they are used to using on a daily basis, which then can help create more personal relationships between the students and their teachers. Changes in the brain happen when it receives high-tech information in the digital era so in an attempt to keep up with the changing brain, it is important to change the classroom environment to meet its needs (Sprenger, 2010).

Sprenger (2010) also helped me to understand that students’ brains work at a very fast pace and are in constant multi-tasking mode. The reticular activating system helps to filter out most of the non-essential information, or what the learners deem as non-essential; therefore it is important to use strategies that will want the students to keep the information in their working memory and eventually move it over to their long term memory.

How I would set up a learning climate that is positive and facilitates growth and change based on what neuroscience tells us is to simply get to know my students, their previous experiences, and what their current needs are in terms of learning. While I know it is unrealistic to teach to each individual student in their own personal style, I do believe it’s feasible to come up with some sort of compromised plan that takes into account their goals and interests while still teaching the content that I’m responsible for.

Halo Neuroscience. (2019, February 8). The neuroscience of learning [Video]. Youtube (3:00).

Sprenger, M. (2010). Brain-based teaching in the digital age (1st ed., pp. 1-556). Alexandria, VA: ASCD

Sunyoung Park, M.H. (2016). We knew it all along! Using cognitive science to explain how andragogy works. European Journal of Training and Development, 40(3), 171-190.

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