Great information on how the combination of teaching and emotions can impact the brain and therefore learning and retention of information.


Informative quotes

  1. Attention= Curiosity + Prediction
  2. Attention is a process of selection
  3. Input must be selected by the Reticuar Activating System which you have no control over
  4. IF information is not selected by the RAS, it will not reach consciousness and will therefore not be retained
  5. To get through the RAS, information must be novel, changed or different
    • Help students feel safe then stimulate their curiosity
    • Start with something fun and happy that will make them want to come into class and listen (eg. fun video or song, cute hat or prop)
    • Lower classroom stress to activate and allow learning to happen
  6. Stimulate curiosity
    • Curiosity is necessary to pursue new experiences
    • Curiosity is critical for survival
  7. Prediction increases curiosity, attention and memory
    • Advertise to predict
    • Advertising increases curiosity and prediction
    • Use advanced organizers like advertising walls to get ready for an upcoming unit or lesson
    • Put a clue up every few days that will cause students to want to predict what's coming
      • The more they predict, the more excited and invested and engaged they will be b/c they will want to see if they are right
8. To sustain Attention:
    • Use Discrepant Events (D.E. are novel or unexpected so the RAS will let them in; they're predictive because you already are thinking one way then you throw in a discrepant event and people are curious)
9. Consequences of Passive Learning = memorization without engagement
10. Sustain curiosity using essential questions:
    • People have a natural desire to learn about their surroundings; instinctual curiosity for their world
    • Brain seeks out pleasure and patterns, anomalies and relationships to create meaning
11. The brain is wired to find out if it's predictions are correct because correct = dopamine which is like a shot of euphoria
12. Amygdala directs input flow to prefrontal cortex (PFC)
  • Students' emotional states (stress or comfort) impacts where amygdala sends input (to PFC or lower brain)
  • We want information to make it to the PFC so it is important to keep kids unstressed so they can learn
  • Stressed = no passage to pfc
  • Positive emotional state = opens amygdala to pfc = memory
  • Amygdala blocks entry to PFC in response to negative emotions
    • Fear
    • Stress from frustration
    • Stress from boredom
    • Brain in stressed state has reactions like fight, flight or freeze
13. Acheivable challenge with incremental progress is motivating (Think about how kids love to play video games and move through levels)
  • Awareness of your incremental progress gives you intrinsic reinforcement (dopamine=pleasure)
  • Help students recognize their incremental progress SO include feedback of that progress
  • Design challenges for students that are
    • Realistic
      • Include feedback of incremental progress
    • Achievable
      • Can be achieved if student is appropriately supported and motivated
14. Prediction activities make stronger and more accurate memories
  • The brain uses prior experiences to best predict outcomes of new experiences
  • Prediction is not random
  • It takes prior knowledge to interpret new information
  • Prediction increases memory encoding
  • There is activation in the prefrontal cortex (pfc) when making prediction, then activation in the hippocampus because it wants to make new relationshops
15. How can we ensure that we activate prior knowledge so new information has something to hook into?
  • Class DISCUSSION starting with current events of high interest that might connect to unit or topic
  • Text preview (skim the text at home, i,e. headings, bold words, captions ahead of the introduction in class)
  • Ask what they know, i.e, KWL chart but add a T for what they THINK they know (curiosity, prediction and personalization)
16.Working Memory
  • Unless something is done with new relational mmory, it is lost in LESS THAN 1 minute
  • WM holds data in mind TEMPORARILY while the brain manipulates it
  • A limited amount of material can be held in workng memory
  • Neuroplasticity : Coverting working memory to long term memory
    • Mental manipulation (i.e. homework) strengthens pathways
      • When you mentally manipulate the memory is more durable and more efficiently retrieved
      • Practice makes it permmanent
      • LTM builds when new informatin is linked to existing information
      • Neurons that fire together, wire together = Plasticity

Judy Willis Handout 6-14!6!15- Clean Version Willis Revised Power Point Format 6-14-2010

Teacher-Participant Animotos

Time and Place
Way Back
It's About Time
Public Service Announcement
The Human Body
Dad's 90th
What Up?
Pythagorem Theorem