Experts Give Tips on How to Get Student Brains Engaged

Teachers have been waging the battle to get each one of their students to become engaged in the process of learning for as long as there has been a formal educational system. It’s common practice for teachers to try to use distinguishing instruction, critical thinking lessons and to make the classroom environment less stressful for students. The question is though: is it working?

According to Dr. Sarah Armstrong, senior director for K-12 development at the University of Virginia, it all comes down to the chemicals and neurons in each students brain.

Armstrong says, “In lots of classrooms around the country, practice doesn’t always work, no matter how much a teacher might have planned. There are also many struggling learners out there who may seem like they just don’t fit into the ‘school’ category.” She goes on to say, “But if we look at neuroscience research, and understand how the brain learns and how, in general, it likes to learn, we can fix some of those learning gap problems.”

Armstrong places major emphasis on reducing the stress in the classroom to aid students in learning. Stress inhibits learning because students then turn that stress into fear, feelings of failure and anxiety. The brain turns all of these feelings into a perceived threat and it essentially ceases to function properly. So it’s key for the continued learning and engagement of students to remain in as stress free a state as possible.

Stansbury, M. (2014, September 1). Here’s How to Reach Every Student Brain. Retrieved September 2, 2014, from

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