LEARNING & COGNITIVE PROCESS IN EDUCATIONAL PSYCHOLOGY
PREPARED BY WAQAS SAEED (GOLD MEDALIST)
Introduction of learning
Learning is a natural phenomenon which is natural to all organisms including both humans and animals. Learning affects a child’s development. A child learns new habits only through the process of learning and through imitated traditions and customs. Intellectual skills are also developed through learning. The decision of right and wrong, the concepts of justice and aesthetic sense, etc. develop through learning. This process of learning continues throughout life. Learning is the basis of maturation.
Learning affects our
· Customs and traditions
· Attitudes and beliefs
Definition of learning
Learning is the process of acquiring new understanding, knowledge, behaviors, skills, values, attitudes, and preferences. The nature and processes involved in learning are studied in many fields, including educational psychology, neuropsychology, experimental psychology, and pedagogy.
“The basis of learning is to gain knowledge after observing the whole structure. Responding towards the entire situation is learning.”
“The process of acquiring new knowledge and new responses is the process of learning.”
“Leaning is shown by a change in behavior as a result of experience.”
Pavlov has said, “
Learning is habit formation resulting from conditioning.”
Kingsley and Garry;s view
“Learning is a process by which behavior is originated or change through practice or training.”
“Learning is the process of progressive behavior adoption.”
Some facts about learning
(i)Learning is a process through which the behavior of the child changes or modifies.
(ii) Learning is predicted on the basis of changes in behavior.
(iii) These changes can be negative or positive.
(iv) The changes due to learning are permanent.
(v) Changes in the behavior are the results of experiences.
(vi) Leaning can be termed as a mental process.
Introduction of cognitive science
Cognitive science is the interdisciplinary study of mind and intelligence, embracing philosophy, psychology, artificial intelligence, neuroscience, linguistics, and anthropology. Its intellectual origins are in the mid-1950s when researchers in several fields began to develop theories of mind based on complex representations and computational procedures. Its organizational origins are in the mid-1970s when the Cognitive Science Society was formed and the journal Cognitive Science began. Since then, more than one hundred universities in North America, Europe, Asia, and Australia have established cognitive science programs, and many others have instituted courses in cognitive science.
Cognitive psychologists try to build up cognitive models of the information processing that goes on inside people’s minds, including perception, attention, language, memory, thinking, and consciousness.
Cognition is a term referring to the mental processes involved in gaining knowledge and comprehension. These cognitive processes include thinking, knowing, remembering, judging, and problem-solving. These are higher-level functions of the brain and encompass language, imagination, perception, and planning.
Cognitive skills are the core skills your brain uses to think, read, learn, remember, reason, and pay attention. Working together, they take incoming information and move it into the bank of knowledge you use every day at school, at work, and in life.
Importance of cognitive process
It includes different cognitive processes, like learning, attention, memory, language, reasoning, decision making, etc which are part of our intellectual development and experience.This is important for understanding cognitive processes and how they influence our behavior and emotions.
1. Sustained Attention.
2. Response Inhibition.
3. Speed of Information Processing.
4. Cognitive Flexibility and Control.
5. Multiple Simultaneous Attention.
6. Working Memory.
7. Category Formation.
8. Pattern Recognition.
3 basic cognitive processes
The cognitive processes are mental operations of thought that help us to adapt to the environment.
For improvement of my cognitive skills
1. Adopt a growth mindset.
2. Stay physically active.
3. Manage emotional well-being.
4. Eat for brain health.
5. Restorative sleep.
Test for cognitive skills
· The Mini–Mental State Examination (MMSE) or “Folstein” test is a 30-point questionnaire that is used extensively in clinical and research settings to measure cognitive impairment. It is also commonly used in medicine and allied health.
· The “Revelian” Cognitive Ability Test (RCAT) asks you to complete a series of questions that relate to verbal, numerical and abstract reasoning, to measure your critical thinking and reasoning ability. Research consistently shows that these skills are commonly linked to job performance across a broad range of jobs.
High-level activities such as problem solving, decision making, and sense making that involve using, working with, and thinking with information.
1. ATTENTION AS A COGNITIVE PROCESS
Attention is the cognitive process that allows us to concentrate on a stimuli or activity in order to process it more thoroughly later. Attention is a fundamental cognitive function for the development of daily situations, and it is used in the majority of tasks that we carry-out day-to-day. In fact, it has been considered a mechanism that controls and regulates the rest of the cognitive processes: from perception (we need attention to be able to pay attention to the stimuli that don't reach our senses) to learning and complex reasoning.
2. MEMORY AS A COGNITIVE PROCESS
Memory is the cognitive function that allows us to code, store, and recover information from the past. Memory is a basic process for learning, as it is what allows us to create a sense of identity. There are many types of memory, like short-term memory, which is the ability to retain information for a short period of time (remember a telephone number until we can write it down on paper), and long-term memory, which are all of the memories that we keep for a long period of time. Long-term memory can be broken into smaller groups, declarative memory and procedural memory. Declarative memory consists of the knowledge that was acquired through language and education (like knowing that World War II ended in 1945), as well as knowledge learned through personal experiences (remembering what my grandma used to make for me). Procedural memory refers to learning though routines (learning how to drive or ride a bike). Other types of memory are auditory memory, contextual memory, naming, and recognition.
3. PERCEPTION AS A COGNITIVE PROCESS
Cognitive perception allows us to organize and understand the world through stimuli that we receive from our different senses, like sight, hearing, taste, smell, and touch. While most people are familiar with the common senses, there are some other, less-known senses, like propioception (stimuli which unconsciously perceives our position in space and judges spatial orientation) and interoception (which is the perception of our organs in our bodies. It is what allows us to know when we're hungry or thirsty). Once the stimuli is received, our brain integrates all of the information, creating a new memory.
4. LANGUAGE AS A COGNITIVE PROCESS
Language is the ability to express our thoughts and feelings through spoken word. It is a tool that we use to communicate and organize and transmit information that we have about ourselves and the world. Language and thought are developed together and are closely related, they mutually influence each other.
5. THOUGHT AS A COGNITIVE PROCESS
Thought is fundamental for all cognitive processes. It allows us to integrate all of the information that we've received and to establish relationships between events and knowledge. To do this, it uses reasoning, synthesis, and problem solving (executive functions).
6. LEARNING AS A COGNITIVE PROCESS:
Learning is the cognitive process that we use to incorporate new information into our prior knowledge. Learning includes things as diverse as behaviors or habits, like brushing our teeth or learning how to walk, and knowledge that we learn through socialization. Piaget and other authors have talked about cognitive learning as the process of information entering our cognitive system and changing it.
Improvement of cognitive ability
1. REDUCE STRESS LEVEL
Stress increases cortisol levels, which attacks the myelin of the axons and impedes information from being efficiently transmitted. If we are able to reduce the stress in our lives, we may be able to improve our cognition, because reducing stress improves synaptic connections. Keeping a positive attitude makes us more creative when solving problems, and probably makes us more cognitively flexible.
Meditation can also help our cognition. In the last few years, more and more studies have been looking at the effects of meditation on cognitive processes. It requires concentration and conscious attention, which as we said, are important for creating new functional circuits. The study seems to support this idea, and meditation has been related to improvements in attention, memory, executive functions, processing speed, and general cognition.
3. PHYSICAL EXERCISE
Doing some exercise can also improve it. It doesn't need to be particularly intense activities. In fact, walking 45 minutes, 3 times a week seems to improve memory and reasoning (executive functions), and practicing Tai-Chi improves mainly executive functioning.
Dual side cognitive theories
1. Convergent and Divergent Thinking
Convergent thinking is typically defined as cognition which moves toward a single correct answer whereas in divergent thinking cognition moves in multiple directions making new, original possibilities more likely—the reason measures of it are often used to assess creativity.
2. Insight and Incubation
In the realm of problem solving, creative flow shares properties with both the insight and incubation phases. Insight has often been described as following a period of preparation and facilitated by a period of incubation (Sio and Ormerod, 2009) including mind-wandering from an intentioned task (Baird et al., 2012). Topolinski and Reber (2010) described insight's features: ideas come suddenly—“pop into the mind, abruptly and unexpectedly” (p. 402), and bring ease of processing after the solution is found. Creative flow shares the feature of coming to mind rather than found through effort, and may be surprising, but rather than a single idea which solves or restructures a prior problem, flow unfolds over time. The ease of processing is part of the emerging creation, not a process subsequent to it. The content of insight is typically an idea; creative flow typically comes embodied—the composer is at the keyboard; the painter, at the easel; the writer, at the computer or with pen in hand (See, for example, Banfield and Burgess, 2013). As Csikszentmihalyi (1999) wrote, idea, and action are fused.
Like incubation, flow often follows intentional preparation and is effortless—allowing the mind to go where it will without the control of executive functions. In incubation, the mind wanders away from the prior intentioned problem and is often referred to as task unrelated thought (Smallwood and Schooler, 2006); creative flow is focused on the prior problem—the unfulfilled creative intention. Yet flow results in something new, possibly unexpected, pointing to global access, a feature that has been suggested as one possible explanation for incubation (Sio and Ormerod, 2009).
3. Individual Flow and Group Improvisation
The flow experienced by an individual artist shares properties with another creative activity—group improvisation as in theater or in jazz (Sawyer, 2003). Its properties include contingency—each participant's contribution triggering the next participant's response—and modifiability—subsequent events may change the meaning of what came before (Sawyer and DeZutter, 2009). Here, rather than the contingent actions involving several people, a single artist's brush strokes (Shahn, 1957), sentences (Doyle, 1998), or musical phrases (Csikszentmihalyi, 1975) are spontaneous responses to what came before. Ideally, what emerges in both creative flow and group improvisation has an underlying meaningful structure.
An article on (Cognitive Learning: Definition, Benefits and Examples)
Cognitive learning is a style of learning that focuses on more effective use of the brain. To understand the process of cognitive learning, it’s important to know the meaning of cognition. Cognition is the mental process of gaining knowledge and understanding through the senses, experience and thought. Cognitive learning theory merges cognition and learning to explain the different processes involved in learning effectively.
The cognitive learning process aims to chart the learning process for optimal thinking, understanding and retention of what we learn. When you master the fundamentals of cognitive learning, it becomes easy to maintain a lifelong habit of continuous learning. Not only can these strategies make you a better learner, but they can make you more likely to excel in your profession.
With cognitive learning strategies, you can become a powerful public speaker, a visionary leader or a motivated team player who helps your organization achieve its goals and objectives.
Functions of cognitive learning
Cognitive learning is an immersive and active process that engages your senses in a constructive and long-lasting way. It teaches you to maximize your brain’s potential and makes it easier to connect new information with existing ideas, deepening the memory and retention capacity.
Instead of emphasizing memorization as in the traditional classroom method of learning, cognitive learning focuses on past knowledge. It trains you to reflect on the material and connect it with past knowledge for more robust learning. This not only makes cognitive learning a more effective way of gaining knowledge, but it also makes you a better learner for the long-term.
Elements of cognitive learning
Cognitive learning is unlike the traditional learning process, where the focus is on memorization rather than achieving mastery of the subject. The following factors are fundamental to the cognitive learning process:
Cognitive learning strategies emphasize comprehension. You need to understand the reason for learning the subject in the first place and the role your knowledge plays in your work.
Cognitive learning discourages rote learning where you cram materials for memorization. In cognitive learning, the goal is to understand the subject at a deeper level. This creates an immersive effect that helps recall and improves your ability to relate new knowledge to past information.
Cognitive learning strategies encourage you to reflect on the material and how to apply it to current and future situations. With this, you develop improved problem-solving skills, critical thinking skills and visionary leadership traits that can help you see things others cannot see in a clear form.
Benefits of cognitive learning
Cognitive learning is an effective way of fostering a life-long love of learning and improvement in employees. Organizations can use cognitive learning strategies to impact the following benefits on their staff:
In cognitive learning, students learn by doing. This hands-on approach makes learning immersive and promotes comprehension. Thus, you can develop a deeper understanding of the material and its application to your work and life.
Improves problem-solving skills
Problem-solving skills are critical at any level of leadership. The cognitive learning approach enhances your ability to develop this core skill and helps them to apply it to every aspect of their job.
Cognitive learning can also improve confidence in your ability to handle challenges at work. This is because it promotes problem-solving skills and makes it easier to learn new things within a short period.
Encourages continuous learning
Cognitive skills promote long term learning as it allows you to connect previous knowledge with new materials. It helps you merge old and new information and apply both effectively.
Cognitive strategies promote a love of learning by making new knowledge exciting and fulfilling. This encourages you to develop a long-term appetite for knowledge acquisition in any environment.
Cognitive learning examples
Here are examples of cognitive learning:
- Implicit learning
- Explicit learning
- Meaningful learning
- Cooperative and collaborative learning
- Discovery learning
- Non-associative learning (habituation and sensitization)
- Emotional learning
- Experiential learning
- Receptive learning
- Observation learning
1. Implicit learning
Learning is implicit if it does not involve an active intention to gain knowledge. It is a form of accidental and automatic learning as you are not aware of the process but find out later you’ve retained the information.
Examples of this learning include talking, walking, eating and other things you learn without conscious thoughts. For instance, you may learn to type without looking at your keyboard.
2. Explicit learning
When you deliberately seek knowledge, you are learning explicitly. It involves attempting to become proficient at a new skill or process vital to your work, or going back to school for further studies.
Unlike implicit learning that comes to you naturally, explicit learning requires deliberate action and sustained attention to acquiring new knowledge. Cognitive learning helps you to learn more explicitly by giving you exceptional insight into the subject and how it relates to your work now and later. An example is when you enroll in a PowerPoint course to improve your presentation skills.
3. Meaningful learning
Meaningful learning occurs when a person relates new knowledge with past information and experiences. It encompasses emotional, motivational and cognitive aspects and helps to deepen knowledge and problem-solving skills. An example is when you go for an advanced management course to become a better team leader and have a deeper understanding of past leadership training.
4. Cooperative and collaborative learning
When you learn a new process as a group or team at work, you are doing cooperative learning. Learning cooperatively helps to deepen collaboration and bring out the best skills in each participant at the event. This cognitive learning comprises four elements, including:
· Simultaneous interaction
· Positive interdependence
· Individual responsibility
· Equal participation
Similarly, collaborative learning is a cognitive strategy in which a resource person teaches a group how to develop their ideas on a specific skill or knowledge area. For instance, your company could train a colleague on a new production process so they can pass on the knowledge to team members.
5. Discovery learning
You learn through discovery when you actively seek new knowledge. If you enjoy researching new concepts and processes, think deeply about subjects that are not your primary area of specialization or adapt new information to your work, you are practicing discovery learning. For example, you may learn more information about a new workflow app professionals are talking about in your industry.
6. Non-associative learning (habituation and sensitization)
Non-associative learning is divided into two styles, including habituation and sensitization. Both focus on how you learn based on your reaction to a continuous stimulus.
Habituation is learning by habit. It involves a reduced reaction to a stimulus after prolonged exposure. For example, habituation prevents you from noticing the noise if you work in an industrial business. Over time, the sound does not bother you anymore because you have learned to ignore the stimulus.
The opposite of habituation learning is sensitization because your reaction increases with repeated exposure to the stimulus. For instance, you might be more reactive to the sound of your office telephone ringing. Both types of learning are basic and can be adapted to a wide range of situations in life and work.
7. Emotional learning
This cognitive strategy helps people learn emotional intelligence and other aspects of controlling their emotions and understanding those of others. Whether you are a leader or junior employee, emotional intelligence plays a crucial role in empathy, interpersonal relationships and effective communication. For example, emotional learning helps you maintain cordial relations with introverts and extrovert colleagues regardless of their position in the organization. Mastering this learning could improve your relationships at work and in your private life.
8. Experiential learning
People often learn best through experience. Experiential learning is a cognitive strategy that allows you to take valuable life lessons from your interactions with other people. However, experiences are subjective and depend on your interpretations. For example, a medical intern can gain insights about patient care, diagnosis, empathy, and compassion by shadowing an experienced doctor.
So, two people may have the same experience and draw different lessons from the event. The value of your experience depends on your level of introspection and reflection and how you can relate it to past events.
9. Receptive learning
If you love learning at lectures where a person stands in front and talks about a subject while the audience listens or takes notes, that is a form of receptive learning. This learning strategy is passive for the learner as it involves the active participation of the person who delivers the material. It limits your participation in taking notes and asking questions. An example is when your organization invites experts to train your team in a classroom or workshop setting.
10. Observation learning
This cognitive learning strategy involves imitation. Imitation is an effective learning tool, particularly among children. However, adults can also imitate others to learn the skills and traits they desire. You can learn leadership qualities by imitating leaders in your field, and you can also become a better team player by practicing the habits of great team players. For example, observing a manager who excels at long-term planning can help improve your strategic thinking skills.
Cognitive learning is an excellent way to achieve mastery in your profession. It helps optimize the use of your brain, thoughts, emotions and experiences. Cognitive strategies condense your learning activities into a fully immersive event that builds on past information while applying it to future scenarios. If you want to become an effective learner who enjoys seeking knowledge for a lifetime, practice the cognitive learning strategies above to achieve excellence at work and in every area of life.
The word “perception” comes from the Latin words perceptio, percipio, and means “receiving, collecting, action of taking possession, and apprehension with the mind or senses.”
Perception is defined by Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English as
1. The way you think about something and your idea of what it is like
2. The way that you notice things with your senses of sight, hearing etc.; c) the natural ability to understand or notice things quickly.”
3. In philosophy, psychology, and cognitive science, perception is the process of attaining awareness or understanding of sensory information.
Perception can be defined as our recognition and interpretation of sensory information. Perception also includes how we respond to the information. We can think of perception as a process where we take in sensory information from our environment and use that information in order to interact with our environment. Perception allows us to take the sensory information in and make it into something meaningful.
Some of the main types of perception include:
Types of perception
- Vision. Main article: Visual perception. ...
- Sound. Main article: Hearing (sense) ...
- Touch. Main article: Haptic perception. ...
- Taste. Main article: Taste. ...
- Smell. Main article: Olfaction. ...
- Social. Main article: Social perception. ...
- Other senses. Main article: Sense. ...
- Constancy. Main article: Subjective constancy.
Role of memory in learning process
Memory refers to the processes that are used to acquire, store, retain, and later retrieve information. There are three major processes involved in memory: encoding, storage, and retrieval.
Role of memory in learning
Short-term memory is the capacity to hold small amounts of information in the brain.
Long term memory
Long-term memory is a different type of memory in which you hold information in your brain from the past. Each of these types of memories is very important to us and a person can lose each type of memory for different reasons.
Encoding of memory in learning
Encoding is the first process of memory, during which information is transformed so that it can be stored. This is a physiological process which starts with attention. A memorable event causes the neurons to fire more rapidly, organizing the information into a systematic array that can be recalled later. How we encode information determines how it will be stored and what cues will be effective when we try to retrieve it.
Memory encoding is an active and selective process that organizes and reorganizes the information. Thus, teaching someone how to memorize and learn, is to all intents and purposes a lesson on how to organize information. There are four main types of encoding, and knowledge of each can help us design better learning experiences:
Types of Memory Encoding
Encoding is the processing and encoding of sound, words, and other auditory input for storage and later retrieval. By associating the information with sounds, by sounding out the words, the neural connections become stronger and aid in the recall process.
Encoding is the process of encoding images and visual sensory information. Visual sensory information is temporarily stored within the iconic memory before being encoded into long-term storage. The amygdala (located in the medial temporal lobe of the brain which has a primary role in the processing of emotional reactions) fulfills an important role in visual encoding, as it accepts visual input in addition to input from other systems and encodes the positive or negative values of conditioned stimuli.
Encoding is the encoding of how something feels, normally through the sense of touch. Physiologically, neurons in the primary somatosensory cortex of the brain react to vibrotactile stimuli caused by the feel of an object.
Encoding is the process of encoding sensory input that has particular meaning or can be applied to a particular context, rather than deriving from a particular sense.
Ø Acoustic Encoding
Let’s look at how we would tap into these encoding techniques, starting with acoustic encoding. If acoustic encoding is at work, will retention be improved if you simply add music to your eLearning course? Actually, this type of strategy could distract from the learning. Research has shown that learning from text alone, or from audio alone, is more effective than learning from text and identical audio simultaneously. Using appropriate voiceover, however, can help improve retention.
Ø Visual Encoding
Visual encoding is one of the most commonly used technique in learning, since it is one of the most natural approaches the human brain employs. If you were to read over this list of words: house, tree, truth, book, value, and were asked later to recall the words from this list, you would probably have an easier time recalling the words house, tree, and book, and a more difficult time recalling the words truth and value. The human brain can recall images (mental pictures) more easily than words alone. When you read the words house, tree, and book you created images of these things in your mind. These are concrete, high-imagery words. On the other hand, abstract words like truth and value are low-imagery words. High-imagery words are encoded both visually and semantically (Paivio, 1986), thus building a stronger memory. Iconic memory plays a very important role in visual encoding..
Ø Tactile Encoding
Since tactile encoding uses the sense of touch, it is not useful in eLearning. However, it can very easily be used in blended learning in the “face to face training” pieces. For example, in the medical field, much of the learning is done through practices like dissection, palpation, and examination, where the sense of touch is vital.
Ø Semantic Encoding
Semantic encoding deals with the processing and encoding of the meaning of something (a word, phrase, picture, event) as opposed to the sound or vision of it. Various strategies can be applied in learning such as chunking and mnemonics to aid in encoding, and in some cases, allow deep processing, and optimizing retrieval. “Mnemonics” refers to any system or device designed to aid memory. This is usually patterns of letters, ideas, or associations, such as ROYGBIV to remember the colors of the rainbow.
For transferring short-term memory to long-term memory
1. Start reviewing new material immediately
Remember that people typically forget a significant amount of new information not too long after learning it. As a student, you can benefit from starting to study new material right away. If you’re introduced to new concepts in class, for example, don’t wait to start reviewing your notes and doing the related reading assignments—the sooner the better.
2. Study frequently for shorter periods of time
Once information becomes a part of long-term memory, you’re more likely to remember it. If you want to improve the odds of recalling course material by the time of an exam (or a future class, say), try reviewing it a little bit every day. Building up your knowledge and recall this way can also help you avoid needing to “cram” and feeling overwhelmed by everything you’ve may have forgotten.
3. Use repetition
This strategy is linked to studying material frequently for shorter periods of time. You may not remember when or how you learned skills like riding a bike or tying your shoes. Mastery came with practice, and at some point the skills became second nature. Academic learning is no different: If you spend enough time with important course concepts and practice them often, you will know them in the same way you know how to ride a bike—almost without thinking about them.
Jennifer felt anxious about an upcoming history exam. This would be her first test in a college class, and she wanted to do well. Jennifer took lots of notes during class and while reading the textbook. In preparation for the exam, she had tried to review all five textbook chapters along with all of her notes.
The morning of the exam, Jennifer felt nervous and unprepared. After so much studying and review, why wasn’t she more confident?
Usage of memory in learning process
1. Think about concepts rather than facts:
From time to time, you’ll need to memorize cold, hard facts—like a list of math equations or a vocabulary list in a Spanish class. Most of the time, though, instructors will care much more that you are learning about the key concepts in a subject or course—i.e., how photosynthesis works, how to write a thesis statement, the causes of the French Revolution, and so on. For example, Jennifer might have been more successful with her studying—and felt better about it—if she had focused on the important historical developments (the “big ideas”) discussed in class, as opposed to trying to memorize a long list of dates and facts.
2. Take cues from your instructor
Pay attention to what your instructor writes on the board or includes in study guides and handouts. Although these may be short—just a list of words and phrases, say—they are likely core concepts that you’ll want to focus on. Also, instructors tend to refer to important concepts repeatedly during class, and they may even tell you what’s important to know before an exam or other assessment.
3. Look for key terms
Textbooks will often put key terms in bold or italics. These terms and their definitions are usually important and can help you remember larger concepts.
4. Use summaries
Textbooks often have summaries or study guides at the end of each chapter. These summaries are a good way to check in and see whether you grasp the main elements of the reading. If no summary is available, try to write your own—you’ll learn much more by writing about what you read than by reading alone.
Work of Memory in Learning
Contributed by Dr. Judy Willis, M.D., M.Ed.
Teachers are the caretakers of the development of students’ minds during the years of its most extensive changes. As such, they have the privilege and opportunity to influence the quality and quantity of neuronal and connective pathways so all children leave school with their brains optimized for future success.
This introduction to the basics of the neuroscience of learning includes information that should be included in all teacher education programs. It is intentionally brief such that it can be taught in a single day of instruction. Ideally, there would be additional opportunities for future teachers to pursue further inquiry into the science of how the brain learns, retrieves, and applies information.
1. Teaching Grows Brain Cells
IQ is not fixed at birth and brain development and intelligence are ‘plastic’ in that internal and environmental stimuli constantly change the structure and function of neurons and their connections. Teachers have the opportunity to help all children build their brains beyond what was previously believed to be fixed limits based on learning disabilities or the predictions of test scores or achievements.
It was once believed that brain cell growth stops after age twenty. We now know that through neuroplasticity, interneuron connections (dendrites, synapses, and myelin coating) continue to be pruned or constructed in response to learning and experiences throughout our lives.
These physical changes of brain self-reconstruction in response to experiences including sensory input, emotions, conscious and unconscious thoughts are so responsive that human potential for increased knowledge, physical skills, and ‘talent’ in the arts is essentially limitless. There are conditions associated with the most successful strengthening of neural networks, such as guided instruction and practice with frequent corrective feedback.
As neuroscience research continues more information will be available to guide teachers providing the brain with the experiences best suited to maximize its learning and proficiency.
2. High Stress Restricts Brain Processing to the Survival State
The prefrontal cortex, where the higher thinking processes of executive functions (judgment, critical analysis, prioritizing) is also the CEO that can manage and control our emotions. Like the rest of the PFC it is still undergoing maturation throughout the school years. Students do not have the adult brain’s developed circuits of reflection, judgment, and gratification delay to overcome the lower brain’s strong influence.
Neuroimaging research reveals that a structure in the emotion sensitive limbic system is a switching-station that determines which part of the brain will receive input and determine response output. Brain-based research has demonstrated that new information cannot pass through the amygdala (part of the limbic system) to enter the frontal lobe if the amygdala is in the state of high metabolism or overactivity provoked by anxiety. It is important for teachers to know that when stress cuts off flow to and from the PFC, behavior is involuntary.
It is not students’ choice in the reactive state when they ‘act out’ and ‘zone out.’
Through interventions to go beyond differentiation to individualization, it is possible to decrease the stressors of frustration from work perceived as too difficult or boredom from repeated instruction after mastery is achieved. Further information from neuroscience research reveals other causes of the high-stress state in school and suggests interventions to reduce the stress-blocking response in the amygdala.
3. Memory is Constructed and Stored by Patterning
The brain turns data from the senses into learned information in the hippocampus. This encoding process requires activation or prior knowledge with a similar ‘pattern’ to physically link with the new input if a short-term memory is to be constructed. The neuroimaging research supported by cognitive testing reveals that the most successful construction of working (short-term) memory takes place when there has been activation of the brain’s related prior knowledge before new information is taught.
When teachers work to clearly demonstrate the patterns, connections, and relationships that exist between new and old learning (e.g. cross-curricular studies, graphic organizers, spiraled curriculum) the probability of encoding increases.
Teachers can help students increase working memory efficiency through a variety of interventions correlated with neuroimaging responses. For example, with opportunities to make predictions, receive timely feedback, and reflect on those experiences. These experiences appear to increase executive function facilitation of working memory, such as guiding the selection of the most important information held in working memory.
4. Memory is sustained by Use
Once an encoded short-term memory is constructed it still needs to be activated multiple times and ideally in response to a variety of prompts for neuroplasticity to increase its durability. Each time students participate in any endeavor, a certain number of neurons are activated. When they repeat the action, the same neurons respond again. The more times they repeat an action, the more dendrites grow and interconnect, resulting in greater memory storage and recall efficiency.
Retention is further promoted when new memories are connected to other stored memories based on commonalities, such as similarities/differences, especially when students use graphic organizers and derive their own connections. Multisensory instruction, practice, and review promote memory storage in multiple regions of the cortex, based on the type of sensory input by which they were learned and practiced.
4 types of forgetting
1. Researcher Elizabeth Loftus, has identified four major reasons why people forget: retrieval failure
3. Failure to store
4. Motivated forgetting.
Remembering in psychology
Remembering (episodic memory) is the conscious and vivid recollection of a prior event such that a person can mentally travel to the specific time and place of the original event and retrieve the details; he or she is able to bring to mind a particular association, image, or sensory impression from the time of the.