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:
- Create student buy-in, which makes the student more receptive to learning.
- Find ways to access the students’ understanding of the world, in order to make lessons relevant and personally meaningful to them.
- Instruct in different ways by varying both the content structure and the way it is presented.
- Find ways to facilitate reinforcements and reviews of what is learned, checking the students’ understanding of what is being taught.
- 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:
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/
“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
“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
“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.)
“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
“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