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Brain-Based Strategies For Improving Literacy

Teachers who learn how the brain works may be able to enhance their current teaching. Brain-based education refers to the use of teaching strategies based on how the brain functions. When students learn about their own brains and can clearly articulate how they think and operate, they can also improve their own literacy development. It is exciting to help students understand that they can take responsibility for their literacy development. One way to learn about brain-based education is through a master's degree in literacy.

Understanding Executive Functioning

The brain does not work as one piece. There are many different processes that occur either together or in a sequence in order to accomplish thinking and processing. When teachers and students understand how executive functioning works, they can actively increase literacy development by using their knowledge to help the brain connect. According to Edutopia, executive functioning allows us to do the following.

  • Activate awareness.
  • Self-regulate.
  • Set goals.
  • Maintain a self-image.

One effective strategy of executive functioning is the ability to recognize and correct mistakes. Students who learn to locate their own mistakes and then work to correct them will develop faster than those who wait for others to find their mistakes.

Brain-Based Tips For Teachers to Try in Class

When teachers discuss their own brains as they teach, students begin to understand how learning connects to the brain. Literacy development improves as students start to connect their brains to their reading and then to their writing about their thinking. While studying for a master's degree in literacy, teachers have the opportunity to learn many more brain-based strategies to bring to the classroom. Here are a few tips.

  • Planning and developing a safe classroom environment where students share.
  • Encouraging a growth mindset that praises persistence.
  • Using regular informal assessments and giving regular feedback.
  • Modeling how to prepare both your brain and body to learn.
  • Introducing new learning so students must think in new ways.
  • Showing how your thinking works -- talking it through as you teach a mini-lesson.

How Understanding the Brain Can Help Identify the Right Intervention

Often students with learning disabilities can articulate what is happening to them when they are given the tools to understand how their brain works. When students struggle to read and write, their literacy development falls behind. The more teachers know about how the brain functions, the more clearly and accurately they can identify the correct intervention for a child in their classroom. There is new research proving that many people with learning disabilities may be able to retrain their brains to learn in different ways. This only occurs when learners have self-awareness which is one of the executive functioning strategies emphasized by brain-based research.

In order to become fluent readers and writers, children must go through many complex processes. The brain helps each of these processes work together. When teachers understand how the brain does this, they can help students make the connections necessary for literacy development.

Learn more about the University of Texas at Arlington's Master of Education in Curriculum and Instruction -- Literacy Studies Online.


Sources:

Edutopia: Strategies For Strengthening the Brain's Executive Functions

Edutopia: Resources on Learning and the Brain

Edutopia: Understanding the Causes of Dyslexia For Effective Intervention

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