Lee is a strong believer in research-based instruction based on learning styles of the brain. She has studied brain function for a number of years. Among the classes she took at the University of Texas-Dallas are
Physiological Psychology - which detailed brain function and chemistry,
Perception - detailed brain function regarding the senses
Drugs, Behavior and the Brain - another course on brain chemistry and the effects of drugs
Lee also has taken staff development classes through Dallas ISD on brain function and learning styles.
It is important to remember that "Cells that fire together, wire together." This applies to the positive side of children learning as well as to criminal behavior. It is extremely important that teachers help young children to reroute negative behavior so that the we stop the neuron networks for mis-behavior in the classroom that can lead to criminal behavior. As we observe the same child move from Pre-K through 6th grade, we can see the path taken. Teachers are great predictors of who will be in jail. In Texas, the failure rate on the TAKS 3rd grade reading test is now used to help project the number of jail cells that will be needed when those 3rd graders are adults.
It is in the power of educators to "Change the Brain.SM "
The latest brain research, based on neuro-imaging and brain-mapping indicates:
Research with animals has shown that the more enriched the environment, the more dense and neuron/dendrite populated the brain is
Brain growth does not stop at birth
Dendrites grow larger in size and number as we learn skills and gain experience
When neurons are activated, new dendrites grow as a result of proteins (neurotrophins)
The amount of neurotrophins are highest during childhood, but continues throughout life
Pathways or networks are created or reorganized due to dendrite activity
Neurons that are not used self-destruct due to the enzyme calpain
When a concept is taught using more than one sense, the brain grows more pathways and these are stronger and reinforced (myelin heaths as well as gray matter thickens); seeing, hearing, hands-on activities (kinesthetic) - these reinforce learning IF AND WHEN the concept objective is presented clearly (research shows that in many American schools, objectives are not presented, although there are many activities provided for students; in schools in Japan, Holland, and other countries, each activity is tied to a specific AND CLEAR objective or concept so that students KNOW WHAT THEY LEARNED, not just that they participated in activities).
Teaching across content areas also reinforces the storage and retrieval of knowledge
By week four in the embryo, half a million neurons are being created every MINUTE
There are 3 areas of Education that determine how well we learn. These are (click for detailed information)
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