Did you know that your brain has to be made “ready to learn” ? Your job as a classroom teacher will be to create a “brain friendly” environment. A happy, friendly environment will allow two chemicals to be released: dopamine and serotonin. These chemicals are neurotransmitters- chemicals released by nerve cells to send signals to other nerve cells. Dopamine increases feelings of reward and pleasure, while serotonin affects happiness and learning. These chemicals are key components in getting a message to travel to brain cells. Learning is the result.
Meanwhile, students who are fearful of their teachers, or in a stressful environment, release adrenaline. Adrenaline engages a “fight or flight” reflex , which shuts down other functions to concentrate on the body’s most important job of self-defense. The moral of the story: your classroom needs to be a safe, happy environment for learning to take place.
How will you create this happy environment? Use humor, music, movement, visualizations, and many other teaching strategies to your teaching. In our next issue, we’ll explore 20 teaching strategies that should be part of every teacher’s instruction. See singalongscience.com
for free resources and more information about brain-based learning and service learning.
Here’s a great video about how a teacher can change a student’s life: