Brain-based learning is a theory that posits that the brain never stops learning as long as it is functioning normally. The brain is like a parallel processor (Caine & Caine, 1998, p. 1) that processes information that it receives from the five sensory organs and stores that information for future use. This essay focuses on the concept of brain-based learning.
The learning that occurs does not happen in isolation; rather, the entire physiological process is involved. The brain is naturally inquisitive. It tries to make sense of whatever inputs it receives. This innate curiosity gives rise to many techniques by which the brain learns. One such technique is called patterning. The brain recognizes objects, actions associated with those objects as patterns. This pattern-forming process is very important to the overall learning process. Connected to the pattern forming process are emotions (Caine & Caine, p. 2). Studies have shown that a combination of graphics and audio inputs significantly helps humans to understand subjects more comprehensively. Thus visual learning does not take place in isolation but includes hearing sounds which play an important role in the learning process.
Learning not only involves objects of central attention but also objects on the periphery. Even while asleep, the brain continues to learn. Sensory inputs continue to be received at the subconscious levels and are being processed by the brain. The brain learns by storing information in specialized parts of the brain for memory storage. The learned information is stored through two processes; spatial information and information learned through rote. Spatial memory occurs naturally, and people understand facts that have their basis in spatial memory faster than they do facts based on mathematical abstracts. Broadly, there are three associated brain-based instructional techniques. The Orchestrated immersion technique, in which the student is fully immersed in the educational experience, is one such technique. This is no different than the natural immersion that a child faces in its environment in the initial few years. Every child picks up his or her mother tongue through this process of constant exposure to the language and the associations thereof provided by the parents. The second technique is called relaxed alertness, where the student is made for relaxing, reducing levels of apprehension, and then given the necessary encouragement. Thus a friendly environment is created that helps learn faster. The third technique is the active processing technique, in which the student is encouraged to actively process the information received and learn from it.
Brain-based learning is better suited for initiating real learning as the learning process is centered on the student and not the information. Full immersion produces better results as students identify with their lessons cooperatively and not as inputs that are being forced into them. Such a learning process is more holistic and helps evolve a better student-teacher relationship as well as well-adjusted individuals. The brain-based immersion technique is the best way to teach students a foreign language. Since no two brains are the same, it is best to allow students to customize their own learning package. The feedback loop for brain learning works best when it is grounded in reality and not through an authority figure. Reality-based problem solving is much better than just abstractions, and people have been found to score better on such problems. A brain-based learning curriculum is a holistic approach that takes into account the natural learning processes of the brain and tailors an education system around this natural ability.
Caine, R. N., & Caine, G. (1998). Mind/Brain Learning Principles. Web.