For the third day of the 30 Day Blog Challenge, I'm going to review the first big idea from Wilson and Conyers book, Five Big Ideas for Effective Teaching.
The first big idea relates to the implications of neural plasticity for learning and teaching. Scientists used to believe that intelligence is fixed, however advances in brain research have proven quite the opposite. This is a concept that both excites and fascinates me because it can be a life changer. Wilson and Conyers cite many studies to support the concept of brain plasticity and its implications and applications to the classroom.
In the book Wilson and Conyers point out, "Low test scores are not a sign that students can't learn but an indication of the need for more informative assessments and intense expert teacher interventions in a positive classroom environment that supports students' beliefs that they can get smarter." As a teacher I can say without hesitation that this is true. The first day of every school year I introduce my students to the concept that their brains are changeable and their intelligence isn't fixed. I tell them that they are the boss of their brains! There are always at least one or two struggling students whose eyes light up when they hear that. It gives them hope and optimism for the future. It is a gift to see them begin to learn and grow.
Applying this knowledge, I believe my job is to find out how my students learn best and act on that information in a safe and positive classroom environment. Their job is to be aware of their potential and act on that knowledge. This leads right to the second big idea which I will share tomorrow. Thank you for visiting!