Explain how students’ prior experiences, interests, and thought processes can influence the learning of current content area concepts.
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Establish the link between past experiences, student interest, and present learning.
Students’ prior experience, interest, and process of thinking can influence learning due to the fact that learning is the dynamic process of shaping and reshaping thoughts based on new knowledge. These experiences influence the understanding of content area with intent consideration of information about the physical and social world. Furthermore, students’ prior experience uses the process of inquiry to define educational context and this can be achieved by retrieving prior knowledge available in the memory by cueing.
In establishing the link between past experiences, interest, and present learning, it will be noted that students with increased prior knowledge are faster in understanding taught courses since prior knowledge is easily retrievable and thus the present learning of the new contents are quickly linked.
This can be connected to the ongoing questioning of students’ understandings about the world around them. These components of inquiry relate to the very heart of naturalistic knowledge.
Additionally, from students prior experience of the environment (by asking theoretical and operational questions, making observations, developing hypotheses, engaging in experimentation and investigation, collecting and analyzing data, drawing conclusions, making inferences, and formulating new questions), the link between past experiences, student interest, and present learning will be established.
According to the research, students learn from their experience with both past and current event, knowledge, and behavior linked to gathered information (Caine & Caine, 1994). This link bridges the dualistic dimensions.
2. Address each of the following key principles of brain-based learning:
- Importance of meaningful learning
- Knowledge background
- Levels of processing
- Development of neural connections
- Activating prior knowledge (schema theory)
Importance of meaningful learning: Teaching by use of brain-based learning is the importance of meaningful learning. However, meaningful learning includes all necessary information required by students. This information is best understood and remembered by the students (Slavin, 2006).
Knowledge background: Knowledge based background attempts to bridge the gap between knowledge of the brain, its functioning and educational practice. The gained knowledge and practice help attain positive results.
Levels of processing: Brain-based learning emphasizes that there are levels of processing connected with how accurately knowledge is attained (Slavin, 2007). The brain processes information differently from standard information, which is less expected to be memorized (Craik & Lockhart, 1972). An example of this can be the breeding and examination of eggs with a concurrent understanding of the stages of their life cycle as they develop into chicks.
Development of neural connections: Neural connections are the concrete representation of learning. When students are taught different subjects, neural connections are formed in the brain and developed through learning, however, the more this approach is employed, the deeper the learning experience is implanted (Hardiman, 2001).
Relevance: Relevant learning consists of meaningful knowledge in order to achieve a goal (H/ardiman, 2001). Examples of this take account of practical learning actions that involve advanced thinking in solving real problems in the world.
Activating prior knowledge (schema theory): Prior knowledge is important in understanding new information. The function of prior knowledge is an element of the Schema theory, which states that content that constitutes already formulated knowledge, is less complicated to memorized (Slavin, 2007). On the other hand, current learning that does not connect to prior knowledge is harder to memorize and remember.
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B. Explain why consideration of past experiences, learning, and student interests should be an important part of lesson planning for the teacher.
Past experiences, learning, and student interests should be an important part of lesson planning for the teacher because it can be used as a teaching approach of addressing memorized information and thinking skills. The nature of this process is rooted in the practice of using process skills and thinking strategies.
When planning lessons, teachers should consider students prior experiences and interests because certain course contents that correspond with the actual plan of accessing information in memory helps students in their reconstructive process, by recalling some course content that is not part of the lesson plan, but consistent with the syllabus.
Caine, G. and Caine, R.N. (1994). Making Connections: Teaching and the Human Brain. Boston, MA: Addison-Wesley Publishing Company.
Craik, F.I.M., & Lockhart, R.S. (1972). Levels of processing: A framework for memory research. Journal of Verbal Learning and Verbal Behavior, 11, 671-684.
Hardiman, M.M. (2001). Connecting brain research with dimensions of learning. Educational Leadership, 59(3): 52-5.
Slavin, R.E. (2006). Educational psychology: theory and practice (8th ed.). Boston, MA: Pearson Education.