90 Of All Animal Research In Psychology Uses These Species Helping Your Pre-Schooler With Math-Brain Friendly or Learning Styles?

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Helping Your Pre-Schooler With Math-Brain Friendly or Learning Styles?

Whether you’ve read my other articles in the Early Childhood Education category or because you’ve researched this topic online, you likely have questions about how the terms “brain-friendly” and “learning styles” fit together. in your work with your preschool child. Of course the purpose of both is to help your child learn, so what’s the difference? Is one better than the other?

“Learning styles” is the oldest concept and represents the results of several research studies that try to determine how we learn. You’ll find a summary of these findings in my article “Learning Styles-Should I Test My Child?” (The answer is NO.) These concepts were essentially assumptions, based on behavioral observation, about how the brain receives and stores information. It assumes how the brain learns.

I recommend that you read that article to familiarize yourself with the terminology because you will likely encounter some or all of these concepts as you further study early childhood education. You may even encounter teachers in your child’s future who still hold these concepts. Some of these attempts to explain how we learn have more merit than others; there is some truth in each; but no one gave the full answer. The concept of learning styles has lost favor in the field of education. In my research for this article I was surprised at how many articles and videos referred to “unpacking” this concept of learning styles.

Having taught in public schools in the 90s, when we were encouraged to test the learning styles of our students, and students were often placed in classrooms where their learning style matched the teacher’s style, the idea that learning styles to be “discovered” initially seemed impossible. However, this change in attitude about education is the result of new developments in brain scanning technology, brain surgery and brain research. We no longer have to guess how the brain learns. We have a lot of research and practical verification of techniques that have proven effective for learning.

The field of brain-based education and learning is only a few decades old; and the field is not without its critics; but even Harvard University now offers master’s and doctoral programs through its MBE–Mind, Brain, and Education– program. The study of brain-based education is about learning what techniques parents and educators should use to better engage the brain in learning.

Now that we know how the brain actually learns, it’s important to use brain-friendly techniques while working with your preschooler. You don’t need a teaching degree to use brain-friendly techniques. Now I will summarize here the things you should keep in mind when working with your child. The brain needs color, exercise/movement, a variety of activities, novelty, processing time, music, limiting stress, information in small “chunks”, lots of rest, introduction to the “arts” – dance, drama (acting out things), and art, frequent review, good food and more. There are many specific techniques that teachers use in their classrooms, but this list will give you a good start for working at home.

There are a few things to note from the list:

  1. These activities actually use all the different concepts of learning styles, which is why you don’t need to test your child and why I didn’t list them. Using brain-friendly techniques addresses what you need to know about learning styles.

  2. You are already using many of these techniques. You are already working in short bursts of time, giving time to processing, lots of revision, movement, different types of activities, watching your child to avoid stress, etc.

  3. Skill and drill worksheets are NOT brain friendly. There are hundreds of websites that offer worksheets for your preschooler. However, if these worksheets do not have a lot of color, new and varied activities, are short, are self-checked to avoid practice mistakes, and you are not willing to supervise every moment of their use, you should avoid using them. !

If you want more information about brain-based learning, I recommend reading Eric Jensen, David Sousa, and/or John Medina.

The answer to the initial question is that “brain friendly” is a learning concept that you should incorporate into your work with your child. Notice that I haven’t even mentioned math because these techniques are for learning EVERYTHING. Remember to always stay positive with your child, be enthusiastic about learning and avoid boredom in your child. Boredom actually destroys brain cells and we certainly don’t want that!

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