Field trips and “hands on” activities: experiences which grow dendrites


I read an article about Brian Cambourne’s Conditions of Learning Theory and their connection to Brain/Mind Principles (Early Childhood Education Journal, Vol. 31, #1, Fall 2003). In this article I found three issues in a learning classroom which have the potential to affect equity.

Let me give you some background on the Conditions of Learning Theory. According to the authors, there are eight conditions that affect student learning, they are: Immersion, Demonstration, Engagement, Expectation, Responsibility, Employment, Approximation, and Response. He states that these conditions are necessary for student learning. Each one of these conditions has a connection with a principle on how the brain learns. After, I read the article I chose three of these principles/conditions and linked to equity in education. It is interesting to notice how the lack of implementation of these principles in the classroom can lead a teacher to promote inequity in his classroom. I am working with the subject in an inquiry manner.

Last week I wrote about immersion, this week I am writing on the concept of experience, learning by doing.

Condition of learning #2: Demonstration and the brain principle that is linked to it states that, “The brain changes as a result of experience”. This concept is not new.  In the early 1800’s Kant, stated “we learn by experience whether anything is useful or harmful to man”. (p.7) Dewey shared similar thoughts in 1915: “From the standpoint of the child, the great waste in the school comes from his inability to utilize the experiences he gets outside the school in any complete and free way within the school itself; while in the other hand, he is unable to apply in daily live what he is learning at school (p.46)”. If I interpret Kant’s and Dewey’s thoughts correctly schools ought to be laboratories where children construct new knowledge not by “hearing” but by “doing”, that’s how the brain grows dendrites (Rushton et.al 2003).

So, what experiences do our children need to have access to in school in order to have a fighting chance in learning? Can you think of anything? Today is May 12, 2012, here are my first 2: educational field trips, and more hands on experiences in the classroom. Oh no! I am sorry, these two required two things we do not have in our public schools: time and money, thus inequity in our public schools continue.

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About drcorretjer

Doctorate in Administrator Leadership for Teaching and Learning. Vast experience working with English language Learners and their families. Has successfully implemented programs that increased parental involvement in schools and professional collaboration among teachers. Has presented at local, state, and national levels on the topics of curriculum and best teaching practices for English Language Learners. Specialized in alternative assessments for English Language Learners to include portfolios. My goal at this time is to mentor,and nurture new teachers or prospective teachers. I'd like to create a bridge between their college education and the realities of a public school classroom. I believe we can attract and retain the best and the brightest if we provide them with a real foundation and help them be successful. Our children deserve that. Publications: Listen to me: Exploring students' voices regarding homework Lambert Academic Publishing |May 11, 2011 Most of the research conducted about homework is based on adults’ perspectives. This case study explored the perspectives of 5th and 6th grade students in comparison with 10 teachers’ perceptions regarding homework completion. The author administered questionnaires and conducted in depth interviews using a stratified purposive sample and extreme case sampling; which educed the participants’ perceptions and practices about homework. The students’ represented 4 distinct groups: English Language Learners, general education, gifted and talented and special education. The teachers’ instruct 5th and 6th grade. The results of the study indicate that students do not complete their homework because they find it too hard, boring, or they do not understand it. Interestingly, students think that worksheets are hard and boring. However, they are not against homework! This book should benefit teachers, parents, school administrators and staff developers. It would also help develop homework practices that would increase homework completion and student learning. This book brings out the voices of the students to the forefront. After all, they are the ones doing the homework. Listen to them!
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