Ponieważ wielu z Was zastanawia się jak uczyć się skuteczniej i co powoduje,że mózg łatwiej i szybciej przyswaja wiedzę postanowiłam podzielić się z Wami tekstem jednego z moich wystąpień na prestiżowej Międzynarodowej Konferencji dla Nauczycieli Języka Angielskiego IATEFL, na której miałam kilkukrotnie zaszczyt być prelegentem. W zamieszczonym poniżej wystąpieniu sprzed kilku lat, zaprezentowałam wyniki najnowszych badań nad tymi aspektami funkcjonowania mózgu, które mają bezpośrednie przełożenie na naszą efektywność w procesie nauki a następnie skutecznej, aktywnej komunikacji w języku obcym. Stanowią one solidną ramę, która niemal od ręki pomoże Ci usystematyzować to co działa w nauce czy komunikacji z innymi. Wskazówki te pomogą Ci też oddzielić to co działa w komunikacji czy nauce języka od tego co ją głównie utrudnia lub wprowadza chaos.

 

JAKIE 6 CZYNNIKÓW UŁATWIA NAUKĘ I KOMUNIKACJĘ?

Mówiąc krótko, w wystąpieniu wskazałam różnice w funkcjonowaniu mózgu kobiecego i męskiego oraz skupiłam się na 6 istotnych czynnikach, które są wspólne dla wszystkich osób takich jak:

1.Początek i Koniec

(Wyznaczaj CEL i PODSUMOWUJ by bardziej docierać do ludzi i lepiej zapamiętywać informacje)

2. Wizualność

(Buduj Obrazy kiedy uczysz się słów/języka oraz gdy rozmawiasz z innymi)

3. Namacalność

(Mów w sposób namacalny, używaj gestów, konkretów a zapamiętasz/ dogadasz się o wiele lepiej)

4. Kontrastuj  informacje

(Co Stracisz? /Co Zyskasz? Za jaką „cenę”? etc.)

5. Twoje Emocje To Klucz do Sukcesu

(Co Budzi Twoje Emocje? Jak możesz to wykorzystać do nauki języka?)

6. Co z tego będę Miał?

(Mów/ Ucz się tak by jasno pokazać sobie i innym co w tym jest dla nich – to absolutny punkt wyjścia)

Opracowując te informacje bazowałam głównie na wynikach wieloletnich badań topowych ekspertów z zakresy badań nad funkcjonowaniem mózgu takich jak dr J.Medina, dr. L.Brizendine oraz innych uznanych fachowców, którzy specjalizują się w metodyce nauczania. Oczywiście istotnych czynników wpływających na Twoją skuteczność nauki czy komunikacji w języku obcym jest więcej, jednak to już temat na inną okazję.

Tekst wystąpienia załączam poniżej w oryginale, gdyż chwilowo nie mam czasu przełożyć go na język polski, ale jak tylko będzie to możliwe przygotuję dla Was także wersję polskojęzyczną 🙂 Jeśli macie ochotę zmierzyć się z tym tekstem to możecie sporo wyciągnąć także z wersji anglojęzycznej 🙂 Zaznaczam jednak, że wystąpienie to miało charakter naukowy więc język jakim się posługiwałam zdecydowanie odbiega od tego, którego używamy w codziennej komunikacji z obcokrajowacami.

English and sex: 6 brain boosters for effective education

In her presentation, the author will briefly show the audience the basic workings of human brain, which may largely facilitate deeper understanding of any learning or decision-making process. The audience will also be presented with six powerful brain boosters, which make the learning process much easier and prove an inseparable part of the way our brain functions.

To begin with, one could argue that human brain is both a mystery and and a challenging phenomenon. Even though multiple scientists have studied it for centuries, its true potential is still undiscovered. Some scholars claim that the number of neurons in an average human brain is about 86 billion while the amount of stars in the Milky Way alone is approximately as much as 860 times less, as it only counts about 100 thousand million. Interestingly enough, without special equipment, one can usually notice just few of those numerous stars, and since the present author will bring our focus to inner qualities and talents one can bring to light in students, the special devices or mental faculties that might help us do so will be the main focus of this article. Perhaps, as a result, both the teachers and their students will find it much easier to dive into English with greater enthusiasm and fun, which in turn, may boost their effectiveness in a way comparable to a huge telescope which enables us to see and experience much more than average person might ever be capable of seeing.

Human mental system is constructed in a very precise way. Scientists have pointed to multiple aspects which condition the brain and help it structure as well as effectively remember any information piece. Due to the limits of this presentation I have decided to focus on 6 of them which are of key importance to language-learning process. They also facilitate the decision-making process and pre-define our choices to a large extent. What is more, neurologists have discovered that human brain is divided into three main parts, each of which is resposible for a totally different aspect of our life. The main characteristics of each of them will not be discussed here. Instead we will have a closer look at 6 educational boosters which may help us understand and perhaps even re-direct or slightly alter some of our pupils’ behaviours. It is also worth mentioning that the part of brain which is responsible for decision making process is highly reactive to those six powerful signals or ‚faculties’ which facilitate the decision-making system. Importantly enough, one should also realise one major difference between men and women in terms of mental activity, namely the fact that while men and boys are mainly goal-oriented, women and girls are usually focused on the process itself. This in turn means that girls may find it much easier to enjoy the activity on the way whereas boys may be much more inclined towards its final result, paying no particular attention to details and even getting easily bored if made to focus on the process itself. Still, the six educational boosters are identical in all humans, regardless of their sex.They are as follows:

1. THE BEGINNING & THE END

Can you imagine dressing up with your bra or panties as a final element rather than the first one? How would you feel if you watched an exciting movie and had to switch it off just before the most exciting scene ends? This is what might quite frequently happen in everyday life in terms of sales or educational process. Multiple methodicians often emhasise the need for proper introduction and logical structure of the lesson or meeting. We could introduce it to all parts or phases of our lessons/meeting simply by agreeing on a consistent signal which will serve us as a transition from one phase to another. The reason behind it is that human brain can only remember the beginning and ending to each event, which means that if one does not make the audience interested in the first 30 to 60 seconds and then at least partially excited at the end of the process chances are their brains are simply going to fall asleep, or to put it diferently, fall into a stand-by state in order to save energy.

2. VISUAL ASPECTS/ PICTURES

Structuring information and saving energy seem crucial to human survival. Still, there are other factors which condition the functioning of human brain. While smell is the only sense directly connected to brain, it is the human sight that works 40 times faster than any other mental faculty. As a result the more one can see, the faster one can structure and memorise the piece of information in question. What is more, one should realise that it is the right hemisphere which is responsible for visualisation process. Since it is at the same time the artistic, or creative one, seeing a picture makes it much easier to understand and memorise a piec of information, which may be one of the reasons for which one of the sayings claims that ”one picture is worth a thousand words”. If you want to facilitate the learning process to both yourself and your students and make all of you truly engage in it, you might want to introduce a greater amount of visual aids into your teaching process :-). This might mean using more flashcards or colorful Powerpoint presentations as well as making colorful handmade drawings on the blackboard. Using at least two colours, especially read and blue might prove highly effective. Such a tactic is both more economic and energy saving than for example digital graphics or flashcards, and it proves to be more profitable to the way human brain structures the information as it largely boosts the right hemisphere’s capacity, too.

3. TANGIBILITY (TOUCH)

Another feature, or secret weapon the use of which could be implemented in an instant is human touch or tangibility. Regardless of the topic of the lesson or meeting, one should seek ways of making it more of a sensory experience. Making any process more physical not only activates all participants but also largely facilitates the understanding and memorising process. Some of the ideas including sensory experience could be making a pantomime or even introducing ‚high five’ or ‚handshake’ practice as a form of congratulations and transition from one activity to another.

4. YOUR BRAIN LOVES CONTRAST

Another highly effective aspect of memorization process in humans is making use of contrast. The bigger, the better. Have you ever found yourself in a truly shocking or totally weird situation? If so, then you probably know what is meant here. The more unusual, or controversial the event, the easier it is to notice and memorise it. If you seek to make your presentations and conversations more attention-grasping as well as easier to memorise, you might want to introduce more contrast into your stories or activities. While in the classroom, one of the easiest techniques for that could be simply manipulating your voice and making use of various intonation patterns as well as changing location from one part of the room to another. The students could quickly change partners or simply turn around. Interestingly enough, it also helps students to stay focused as human brain requires variety or change of subject every seven to nine minutes. Recent research shows that our attention span capacity has dropped even more, and is now about 5 minutes. This means that during average lesson one should use the aspect of contrast at least five to nine times.

5. YOUR BRAIN IS EMOTIONAL

Another aspect of human mind is that it is highly responsive to emotions. The more emotions one shows, the easier it is to memorise nad later on structure the information. Still, the emotional overload might also happen, so it is better to keep the emotions balanced. To be more exact, one should realise that certain words or facial expressions cause a change in one’s mood. This in turn means that if we apply more optimistic and positively loaded words to our teaching chances are that much more information will be properly structured and remembered. Research shows that dopamine which is released in our brain when we smile, helps us structure the information in a positve way, just like cortizol makes some pieces of information unforgettable, especially if it was connected to some drastic experience. In other words, emotions seem to be the most effective medium for memorisation process. Therefore, the more you employ them in your teaching, the easier it becomes. Some ideas for doing so could be playing pantomime, or “show me your thoughts”… games, which require the participants to activate their creative potential by interpreting gestures and facial expressions of the presenter. What is more such games also largely add to deepening social bonds among students and teacher.

6. SELF-INTEREST MODE

Last but not least, one should realise that one of the strongest mental boosters is the “Me” phenomenon which simply means that human brain is constructed in such a way that it (subconsciuously) processess all information and activities through “What’s in it for me?” filter. Therefore, one of the basic elements in presenting any material should be structuring it in a way that makes the audience either its main protagonist or active participant. One of the easiest ways of doing so could be simply asking questions which refer directly to the audience’s experiences, such as: Have you ever experienced/ seen …?

To sum up, in order to make any educational as well as memorisation process easier, you might find the six mental boosters listed above highly effective. Once you implement them in your teaching they will serve as both amazing tools and effective protection from teacher burnout. That is because, by adapting some information pieces listed here in order to structure your own, unique teaching style, your lessons may become one of the greatest adventures you and your pupils have ever experienced before. Realising the difference between the process-oriented girls and goal-oriented boys might also help us implement such a mix of activities in educational process which will please both sexes and keep them involved throughout the whole lesson.

 

List of major references:
1. Batko, Andrzej. “Haker umysłów” Helion, 2010.
2. Brezandine, L. “Mózg kobiety”. VM Group, 2006.
3. Brezandine, L. “Mózg Mężczyzny” VM Group, 2010.
4. Churches, R., Terry, R. “NLP dla nauczycieli. Szkoła efektywnego nauczania”. Helion, 2010.
5. Hanson, R., Mendius, R. “Mózg Buddy”. Studio Astropsychologii, 2012.
6. John J. Medina. “12 sposobów na supermózg. Jak przetrwać w pracy, domu i szkole”. Prószyński i S-ka, 2009.
7. Łukasiewicz, Monika. “Mistrzostwo. Jak pobijać własne rekordy w szybkim i skutecznym uczeniu się”. Rebis, 2005.
8. Łukasiewicz, Monika. “Sukces w Szkole”. Rebis, 2006.
9. Terry, R., Churches, R. “NLP w szkole. Skrzynka narzędziowa dla nauczyciela”. Helion, 2011.
10. Woźniak, Jakub. ”Neuromarketing 2.0. Wygraj wojnę o umysł klienta” Helion, 2012.

On-line sources:

Medina, John (Phd). Brain Rules. http://www.brainrules.net (accessed on 20.08.2013)
Randerson, James. How many neurons make a human brain?
http://www.theguardian.com/science/blog/2012/feb/28/how-many-neurons-human-brain
(accessed on 25.08.2013)
How many stars are there in the universe?
http://www.esa.int/Our_Activities/Space_Science/Herschel/How_many_stars_are_there_in_the_Universe
(accessed on 25.08.2013)
Vidyarthi, N. Attention spans have dropped from 12 minutes to 5 minutes. How social media is ruining our minds.
http://socialtimes.com/attention-spans-have-dropped-from-12-minutes-to-5-seconds-how-social-media-is-ruining-our-minds-infographic_b86479
(accessed on 25.08.2013)