Monthly Archives: May 2020

Brain-Based Education and Quantum Learning: Ideas for Lesson Planning

This post is the seventh (and last) in a series of blogs focusing on the comprehensive model of education called “brain-based learning” and the Quantum Learning method that most effectively applies that model. It is our hope that this series has helped you to learn more about both the model and the method. Utilizing this methodology in Sunday Church school lessons will enable teachers to heighten the learning ability of each student in their class.

 

In this final portion of our series about the brain-based learning program, Quantum Learning, we will share a few practical ways to apply the method in your Sunday Church school lessons. (If you missed our introduction to the program, you can find it here: https://orthodoxchurchschoolteachers.wordpress.com/2020/03/13/brain-based-education-and-quantum-learning-an-introduction/. Brain-based learning is a teaching methodology based on research that helps teachers to be more effective while also helping students to learn in the best way possible.) We have already explored the five core components of the Quantum Learning System: Foundation, Atmosphere, Environment, Design, and Delivery. All five components work together, but even if you are only able to implement one of them in your Sunday Church school class, you and your students will greatly benefit. In this post, we will offer ways to apply the components to your lessons.

Quantum Learning classroom teachers carefully design learning to be engaging, enticing, intriguing, and full of wonder and discovery. These teachers set their students up for success by strategically utilizing activities that are multi-sensory and multi-intelligent. That is to say, the learning appeals to students’ visual, auditory, and kinesthetic ways while tapping into multiple intelligences. (For example, such a teacher would capture the students’ interest using an icon of a concept, or creating an image in their minds; use hand motions to lock the information in their bodies; take a nursery rhyme and substitute words with important facts; or tell a story that involves the concepts in the lesson.) As the lesson continues, they “chunk” the information, that is, organize it into distinguishable pieces so that the brain can begin to make associations in order to link and store it successfully. They use frequent review throughout the lesson. And it truly is frequent: the method suggests that within 10 minutes of study, it is already time to review a concept, if possible, in a totally different way or through a different intelligence. This helps to move the information in the students’ minds from short- to long-term memory. (For example, these teachers may tell their students to “turn and talk to your neighbor about…” or “read over your notes and draw an illustration for each part” or ask, “how would you explain this to your mom?”) Quantum Teaching lessons will always include the big picture. That is to say, the lesson is designed in such a way that during the lesson, students will ask the question “What’s In It For Me?” and explore the answer. These teachers use the big picture in the same way that a trailer is used to promote a movie: it taps into the feelings of curiosity and wonder, while also highlighting the best parts. (The learning will fill in the plot.)

Each lesson created using the Quantum Learning teaching method incorporates the following brain-considering elements: “Eel Dr. C”. This catchy name is actually an acronym. EEL DR C is a quick way for teachers to remember the important elements: Enroll, Experience, Label, Demonstrate, Review, and Celebrate. Each element serves a special purpose:

  • Enroll is a friendly reminder to create student buy-in by addressing WIIFM (What’s In It For Me) and reaches into the student’s memory and experience, to make connections. (Enroll relates to the “Objective” in lesson planning.)
  • Experience reminds students of a common experience, or creates a new one, to which they can relate. (Experience is related to “Introduction” in lesson plans.)
  • Label is another way to look at the “input” portion of a lesson plan. This is where the key words, concept models, formulas, and/or strategies come into play in the lesson. (Label is related to “Content” in lesson plans.)
  • Demonstrate is the part of the lesson where the learner has a chance to show what they know.   (Demonstrate is related to “Reinforcement” in lesson plans.)
  • Review is the part of the lesson that offers the learner different ways to interact with the material, to help them “know that they know this”.
  • Celebrate is the part of dynamic lesson design that completes the lesson. It acknowledges that the student has participated, acquiring new skills and knowledge in the process.

Here are printable lesson frames that may be helpful if you decide to utilize quantum learning lesson design in your Sunday Church school classroom. Thanks to AODCE Director Carole Buleza for finding this useful information, for sharing it, and for creating these lesson frames to make Quantum Learning-based lesson planning easier.

May the Quantum Learning strategy help each of us to better welcome, love, and learn alongside our students as we all work to become closer to Christ and His Church!

 

Here are some links related to Quantum Learning lesson planning.:

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“Regardless of content area, grade level, or audience, this frame [the lesson design framework EEL Dr. C] guarantees that students become interested in and intrigued with every lesson. It also ensures that they have an experience of the learning, get practice, make the context real for themselves and anchor their success.” (pp. 88) “Quantum Teaching: Orchestrating Student Success”  by Bobbi DePorter, Mark Reardon, and Sarah Singer-Nourie, published by Allyn and Bacon in 1999. It is available for sale here https://www.amazon.com/Quantum-Teaching-Orchestrating-Student-Success/dp/020528664X

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“Influencing Behavior through Action (IBA) captures your learners’ attention, and redirects it to the next task or to you. One IBA strategy we use, called “If you can hear my voice,” comes in handy when you want to get students’ attention whas they work in cooperative groups, teams or pairs. Say: “If you can hear my voice clap once.” then clap. Repeat the initial phrase, this time inserting “clap twice.” then clap twice. As more and more students turn their attention toward you, soften your voice and the sound of the clap. Conclude with “If you can hear my voice turn and look this way.” (pp. 152) “Quantum Teaching: Orchestrating Student Success”  by Bobbi DePorter, Mark Reardon, and Sarah Singer-Nourie, published by Allyn and Bacon in 1999. It is available for sale here https://www.amazon.com/Quantum-Teaching-Orchestrating-Student-Success/dp/020528664X

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Find seventeen practical ways to use brain based learning in your classroom and lessons here: https://thesecondprinciple.com/optimal-learning/brain-based-education/

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Here are practical suggestions to keep in mind as you plan your lessons, if you intend to boost student learning: http://www.jensenlearning.com/survey/Top-10-Boosters-Student-Achievement.pdf ***

Check out the seven stages of brain-based planning that will help you to plan your lessons in brain-friendly ways: http://www.brainbasedlearning.net/brain-based-lesson-planning-strategies/

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This site offers a variety of strategies that can be helpful as you boost learning in your classroom. It includes a few clever videos that explain some of the strategies and their implementation: https://blog.edmentum.com/5-brain-based-learning-strategies-boost-learning-retention-and-focus

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Brain-Based Education and Quantum Learning Core Concept 5: Delivery

This post is the sixth in a series of blogs focusing on the comprehensive model of education called “brain-based learning” and the Quantum Learning method that most effectively applies that model. It is our hope that this series will help you to learn more about both the model and the method. Utilizing this methodology in Sunday Church school lessons will enable teachers to heighten the learning ability of each student in their class.

In this part of our series on the brain-based learning program, Quantum Learning, we will explore the fifth of the five core concepts in this method of teaching. (If you missed our introduction to the program, you can find it here: https://orthodoxchurchschoolteachers.wordpress.com/2020/03/13/brain-based-education-and-quantum-learning-an-introduction/. Brain-based learning is a teaching methodology based on research that helps teachers to be more effective while also helping students to learn in the best way possible.) The five core components of the Quantum Learning System are Foundation, Atmosphere, Environment, Design, and Delivery. All five of these components work together, but even if you are only able to implement one of them in your Sunday Church school class, you and your students will greatly benefit.

This post will take a closer look at the core concept called “Delivery.” In essence, this concept is the way in which the lesson is facilitated. The Quantum Learning method considers a lesson to be delivered effectively if participation, comprehension, and competency have all been maximized.

How can a teacher ensure that effective delivery happens in their classroom? The method suggests that effective teachers will include these elements as they facilitate their classes:

  • Use questioning strategies that increase participation and accountability. Model and enhance discussion skills to that end, as well.
  • State directions clearly.
  • Maximize your students’ attention throughout your time together. This requires building fun and joy into the learning. Maximizing attention and making learning fun will engage the students in such a way that their brain will best learn.
  • Purposefully utilize your voice, your wording, and even your gestures.

Teaching strategies that enhance effective delivery include:

  • Encouraging metacognition: That is to say, allow students to think about their own thinking and learning, or how they think and learn best. Then help them to learn in that way.
  • Chunking information: Organize what is being presented into bites that students’ brains are able to process. The goal is to have them interact with the information in a way that they can link it to things they already know, so that it stays in their long-term memory.
  • Engaging both hemispheres of the brain: Incorporate activities that utilize both the right and the left hemispheres of the brain. This requires variations of thought processes, intentionally including both rational and linear thought, as well as intuitive and creative thoughts. (This is where the “make it fun and joyful” comes into play, to some degree!)
  • Vary experiences: Use a variety of ways to help students learn so that they sometimes need to reflect, other times they’re learning experientially, and still other times they’re applying concrete learning. This sort of variety in learning helps them to better embrace the learning, and brings deeper understanding. (The variety of experiences will naturally make the learning more fun, as well!)

The Church school teacher who is living as a true Orthodox Christian should be naturally effective in their delivery. After all, they will be an inviting presence to their students, because they care deeply for them. They will use their voice and words in a careful manner that invites participation. They will give clear directions. If they are truly joyful about their Faith, such teachers will enthusiastically teach their students about the Faith, making the learning as fun as possible, because they want to bestow the gift of Faith on each student. Their own Faith should pour into the classroom as they invite their students to embrace spiritual skills such as quiet times and experiencing different types of prayer. Those things will help to increase participation in class, as well. The effective Orthodox teacher will truly deliver learning in their classroom.

If we should discover that not all of the above paragraph is true in our own classroom, here is our opportunity for improvement. Let us pray and ask God to help us to live and teach in a way that is more true to the Faith. We can also ask the saints (perhaps St. Seraphim of Sarov, known to call all of his visitors “my Joy”, because of his deep love for them) for their intercessions and help. May God help us to better love and teach our students, one small step at a time.

In the future, we will offer suggested ways to apply the Quantum Learning teaching method in your Church school lessons.

 

Here are some quotes related to this component:

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Tap into the great variety of intelligences in your classroom by keeping the multiple intelligences in mind in lessons, discussions, questions, etc. If you struggle to remember the different multiple intelligences, consider “our friends SLIM-n-BIL (a couple of cool teacher friends… who’ve mentally slimmed down a lot since they discovered the multiple intelligences)…” That is, Spacial-Visual thinking, Linguistic-Verbal thinking, Interpersonal thinking; Musical-Rhythmic thinking; Naturalist thinking; Bodily-Kinesthetic thinking; Intrapersonal thinking; and Logical-Mathematical thinking. More information about each can be found online, or immediately following this quote, on pages 97-98 of “Quantum Teaching: Orchestrating Student Success”  by Bobbi DePorter, Mark Reardon, and Sarah Singer-Nourie, published by Allyn and Bacon in 1999. It is available for sale here https://www.amazon.com/Quantum-Teaching-Orchestrating-Student-Success/dp/020528664X

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“Powerful communication can be intentional and easy. With every interaction you have in the classroom, how you say things is just as important as what you say, maybe even more so. When you teach, give directions, set context or give feedback, remember these four principles:

  • Elicit the image
  • Direct the Focus
  • Be Inclusive
  • Be Specific”

(p. 118) “Quantum Teaching: Orchestrating Student Success”  by Bobbi DePorter, Mark Reardon, and Sarah Singer-Nourie, published by Allyn and Bacon in 1999. It is available for sale here https://www.amazon.com/Quantum-Teaching-Orchestrating-Student-Success/dp/020528664X

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“Teachers often talk too much. They over-explain concepts, repeat directions and lengthen their answers in a way that dilutes the impact of what they say. Why do they do this? Often , because of lack of clarity: they’re unsure about what they want to say. Here’s one way to avoid this trap: Begin direction-giving statements with an action verb: take, draw, write, move, tlk, etc. Not only do you get right to the point, you also set student behavior in motion.” (p. 123) “Quantum Teaching: Orchestrating Student Success”  by Bobbi DePorter, Mark Reardon, and Sarah Singer-Nourie, published by Allyn and Bacon in 1999. It is available for sale here https://www.amazon.com/Quantum-Teaching-Orchestrating-Student-Success/dp/020528664X

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“In… interviews with kids, we learned that their top reason for not listening to or liking their teachers is, ‘They don’t relate to me.’ A gap exists between our world and theirs. With this gap in place, students can’t relate to us or see a  WIIFM (What’s In It For Me?) in our teaching. Without the WIIFM, they don’t buy in… When you understand students’ interests, desires, and thinking, and you let them know you understand, you enter their world, rather than teaching strictly from your point of view…  As you consciously enter their world, you build a necessary partnership with them in the learning process.” (p. 84) “Quantum Teaching: Orchestrating Student Success”  by Bobbi DePorter, Mark Reardon, and Sarah Singer-Nourie, published by Allyn and Bacon in 1999. It is available for sale here https://www.amazon.com/Quantum-Teaching-Orchestrating-Student-Success/dp/020528664X

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“With student success as your goal… First, when you introduce the content (the most difficult point for a learner), make sure you ALWAYS present it in a way that is:

  • Multi-sensory – use visual, auditory and kinesthetic elements
  • Chunked down – break information into chunks of three to four ‘infobytes’ at a time
  • Contains frequent review – throughout learning use review to ensure the brains’ storage of information. Then , add a simple progression to the learning.”

(p. 87) “Quantum Teaching: Orchestrating Student Success”  by Bobbi DePorter, Mark Reardon, and Sarah Singer-Nourie, published by Allyn and Bacon in 1999. It is available for sale here https://www.amazon.com/Quantum-Teaching-Orchestrating-Student-Success/dp/020528664X

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“You represent one of the most significant and influential factors in your students’ success as learners… Your modeling, authenticity, congruence and availability empower and inspire students to unleash the potential they possess as learners. Remember: everything speaks; what you say and how you say it.” (p. 114) “Quantum Teaching: Orchestrating Student Success”  by Bobbi DePorter, Mark Reardon, and Sarah Singer-Nourie, published by Allyn and Bacon in 1999. It is available for sale here https://www.amazon.com/Quantum-Teaching-Orchestrating-Student-Success/dp/020528664X

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Brain-Based Education and Quantum Learning Core Concept 4: Lesson Design

This post is the fifth in a series of blogs focusing on the comprehensive model of education called “brain-based learning” and the Quantum Learning method that most effectively applies that model. It is our hope that this series will help you to learn more about both the model and the method. Utilizing this methodology in Sunday Church school lessons will enable teachers to heighten the learning ability of each student in their class.

In this part of our series on the brain-based learning program, Quantum Learning, we will explore the fourth of the five core concepts in this method of teaching. (If you missed our introduction to the program, you can find it here: https://orthodoxchurchschoolteachers.wordpress.com/2020/03/13/brain-based-education-and-quantum-learning-an-introduction/. Brain-based learning is a teaching methodology based on research that helps teachers to be more effective while also helping students to learn in the best way possible.) The five core components of the Quantum Learning System are Foundation, Atmosphere, Environment, Design, and Delivery. All five of these components work together, but even if you are only able to implement one of them in your Sunday Church school class, you and your students will greatly benefit.

This post takes a quick look at the fourth core concept of the system, “Design.” The Quantum Learning method of teaching seeks to design dynamic lessons. That is to say, lessons that keep the brain in mind, gleans from its resources, and makes purposeful connections. Lessons designed in such a way make it possible for everyone in the room to learn to the very best of their ability. Teachers whose classrooms embrace Brain-Based Education design their lessons to increase student buy-in/interest while also tapping into students’ prior knowledge. A lesson designed with these goals in mind will greatly increase the students’ ability to understand and retain the information that comes their way. Developing conceptual understanding helps the students to then transfer their learning to real life, and apply it to actual situations which they encounter. Teachers also design their lessons in a way that invites their students to participate in activities that show their knowledge, which allows them to accurately assess their students’ progress.

In the Quantum Learning classroom, the lessons are carefully designed with these goals in mind:

  1. Create student buy-in, which makes the student more receptive to learning.
  2. Find ways to access the students’ understanding of the world, in order to make lessons relevant and personally meaningful to them.
  3. Instruct in different ways by varying both the content structure and the way it is presented.
  4. Find ways to facilitate reinforcements and reviews of what is learned, checking the students’ understanding of what is being taught.
  5. Continually put a positive spin on learning.

When we design lessons that invite our students to call to mind their own experience before we offer them new information and/or labels for things, we are properly using the “design” core concept of the Quantum Learning method. Khouriya Terry Rogers once wrote about this teaching methodology, and related this core concept to our Orthodox Christian life. She said, “Think about [it] even as babes, we experience worship long before we can put a name to it!” Welcoming our students to settle new information into an understandable, relevant context attaches that information to the student’s schema (the way they see and make sense of the world). At the same time, instruction designed in this way encourages positive states of learning and inquiry, and connects the student’s world to what they are learning.

The Quantum Learning teaching method incorporates the following into lesson design: the brain-considering elements: EEL DR C, or Enroll, Experience, Label, Demonstrate, Review, and Celebrate. We will take a closer look at these elements at a later time. Even just at a glance, however, it is evident that there is an invitation for students to access what they already know in order to make room for new information. One can also see an implied expectation that teachers make the learning memorable and fun. (The Quantum Learning model suggests that if something is worth learning, it is worth celebrating!)

In the remaining posts about Brain-Based Education, we will be taking a closer look at the fifth core component of the Quantum Learning system, then offering ways to apply this method in your Church school lessons.

 

Here are some links related to Lesson Design:

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This article offers suggestions of ways to optimize learning by using Brain-Based Education. Some of the suggestions can and should be incorporated into lesson design. For example, “Whenever possible, make what you teach relevant to the lives of your students.” (from suggestion #7, “Accessing Prior Knowledge”) and “If you want students to remember something, make it memorable.” (from suggestion #16, “Memory-Enhancing Activities”) Read more about each here: https://thesecondprinciple.com/optimal-learning/brain-based-education/

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“Many students walk into a class asking the question, ‘What’s in it for me?’ While that question may seem a bit selfish and even harsh, put yourself in their shoes. A survey was done with over 81,000 kids. Over half of them said that the only reason they were in school was that 1) it’s the law, and 2) their friends are there Yazzie-Mintz, 2007). This speaks quite loudly to the challenges we all have as educators to make our curriculum relevant…” from booster #9, titled “Relevance”, found in this article of 10 boosters for student achievement: www.jensenlearning.com/survey/Top-10-Boosters-Student-Achievement.pdf

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“The prime directive of Quantum Teaching lies in your ability to close the gap between our world and theirs. This enables you to strengthen rapport, accomplish material faster, make learning more permanent, and ensure transfer… A gap exists between our world and theirs. With this gap in place, students can’t relate to us or see a WIIFM (What’s In It For Me?) in our teaching… “ (p. 84), “Quantum Teaching: Orchestrating Student Success”  by Bobbi DePorter, Mark Reardon, and Sarah Singer-Nourie, published by Allyn and Bacon in 1999. It is available for sale here https://www.amazon.com/Quantum-Teaching-Orchestrating-Student-Success/dp/020528664X

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“Our brains are meaning-making machines, searching for matches to previous experiences. ‘Most of our normal conceptual system is metaphorically structured; that is, most concepts are partially understood in terms of other concepts; (“Metaphors We Live By”, Lakoff and Johnson, 1980, p. 56).” (p. 102), “Quantum Teaching: Orchestrating Student Success”  by Bobbi DePorter, Mark Reardon, and Sarah Singer-Nourie, published by Allyn and Bacon in 1999. It is available for sale here https://www.amazon.com/Quantum-Teaching-Orchestrating-Student-Success/dp/020528664X

(The chapter goes on to encourage the use of metaphors, imagery, and suggestion to help make the necessary connections to previous experiences in our students’ brains.)

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“No matter how we orchestrate the design of the learning, we always set students up – for something. Maybe we intend to do this, maybe we don’t, but the design always sets up the learning, risk, success, or failure that results. As you know, everything is on purpose, so in this case, how can your lesson design ensure their success?” (p. 86), “Quantum Teaching: Orchestrating Student Success”  by Bobbi DePorter, Mark Reardon, and Sarah Singer-Nourie, published by Allyn and Bacon in 1999. It is available for sale here https://www.amazon.com/Quantum-Teaching-Orchestrating-Student-Success/dp/020528664X

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“With student success as your goal, remember these elements. First, when you introduce the content (the most difficult point for a learner), make sure you ALWAYS present it in a way that is

  • multi-sensory – use visual, auditory and kinesthetic elements
  • chunked down – break information into chunks of three to four ‘infobytes’ at a time, and
  • contains frequent review – throughout learning use review to ensure the brain’s storage of information. Then add a simple progression to the learning.”

(p. 87), “Quantum Teaching: Orchestrating Student Success”  by Bobbi DePorter, Mark Reardon, and Sarah Singer-Nourie, published by Allyn and Bacon in 1999. It is available for sale here https://www.amazon.com/Quantum-Teaching-Orchestrating-Student-Success/dp/020528664X