What Do We Know? The acquisition of knowledge is only the beginning of a sound instructional program. Brain research supports what educators know to be the hallmark of effective instruction -- life-long learning best occurs when students are able to apply content, skills, and processes to tasks that require them to engage in higher-order thinking and problem-solving skills. Using knowledge meaningfully requires students to extend thinking by examining concepts in deeper, more analytical ways, thus requiring the brain to use multiple and complex systems of retrieval and integration.
Brain researchers have used the concept of the modular brain to describe differentiated functions of brain regions. Modules from one part of the brain connect to other modules when we perform complex tasks. Research has demonstrated, for example, that the motor cortex, originally thought only to control motor functions, becomes activated when the brain engages in problem-solving that includes such cognitive components as memory, language, emotion, and active learning.
What's the Impact on Learning? Brain-Target Five promotes the use of performance-based instructional activities within each learning unit. Such activities require students to engage in inductive and deductive thinking, analysis, and problem-solving skills. It allows students to apply what they have learned in tasks that have real-world application.
What Can Teachers Do? Within the Brain-Targeted Teaching learning unit, teachers an include Brain-Target Five activities for conducting investigations, designing experiments, creating metaphors and analogies, examining cause and effect patterns, analyzing perspective, and engaging in creative thinking through the visual and performing arts.