Brain Compatible or Brain Friendly?

Definition of a Brain Compatible Classroom
•It is a classroom with a rich environment in which to learn and one which is emotionally safe.
•It is a classroom where students are taught thinking skills in all lessons integrated within the topic and subject.
•It is a classroom where meaning with intense, active involvement of all the learners is constructed.
•It is classroom where students are encouraged to apply and transfer knowledge with metacognitive reflection.
•It is a classroom where a C.F.S (Combined Flow State) is normal for students and boredom is virtually eliminated.

"So our environment, including the classroom environment, is not a neutral place. We educators are either growing dendrites or letting them wither and die. The trick is to determine what constitutes an enriched environment. A few facts about the brain's natural proclivities will assist us in making these determinations:

  1. The brain has not evolved to its present condition by taking in meaningless data; an enriched environment gives students an opportunity to make sense out of what they are learning, what some call the opportunity to "make meaning"
  2. The Brain develops in an integrated fashion over time. Babies do not talk one week, tie their shoes the next, and then work on their emotional development. An enriched environment addresses multiple aspects of development simultaneously.
  3. The brain is essentially curious and it must be to survive. It constantly seeks connections between the new and the known. Learning is a process of active Construction by the learner and enrichment gives students the opportunity to relate what they are learning to what they already know. As noted educator Phil Schlechty says, "Students must do the work of learning."
  4. The brain is innately social and collaborative. Although the processing takes place in our students independent brains, their learning is enhanced when the environment provides them with the opportunity to discuss their thinking out loud to bounce their ideas off their peers and to produce collaborative work."

What Do We Know from Brian Research?
by Pat Wolfe and Ron Brandt
Nov. 1998 Educational Leadership - How the Brain Works
Go to Educational Leadership Index and Look up Nov 1998
To create a brain friendly classroom:
  • use humour
  • use personal stories
  • use novelty
  • use movement
  • use music
  • connect learning
  • use metacognition
  • evoke emotions
  • use visuals

Brain Research in the Adolescent classroom

Brain based learning

Brain strategies and lesson ideas

How the Brain Works