Learning is the process of changing behavior caused by an individual’s experience in his or her environment. Behavioral change is a process of personal adaptation that occurs during the life of the person to make him/her survive as nature dictates on the fittest survive. Learning is a relatively permanent concept for the learned behavior may or may not persist. Learning usually takes two main forms; the formal or informal. Formal learning involves following drawn curriculum and standards of testing what has been taught (Sanabria, 2009).
Learning can also be categorized depending on the degree to which the learner influences the process of learning. In single loop learning the learner follows rules without much influence of the process. This kind of a loop is compared to a thermostat which only detects temperatures and responds by correcting them according to some given instructions. Little learning occurs with this kind of loop. There is little insight needed. The approach is rigid and traditional as opposed the modern brain based learning.
The other loop is the double loop learning. Here the learner reviews the rules and determines how appropriate they are to the learning process. Wider thinking is encouraged and the learner can recommend for some changes to be done on the rule. The learner has to be creativity to realize the necessary changes. Double loop learning can determine the success of an organization.
The last type of loop is the triple loop learning. The learner is supposed to learn how to learn. The learner understands the rules, their appropriateness and work on them before we even start learning.
There are various differences between the reading exercise and learning. Reading refers to the cognitive process of decoding messages with an aim to getting a meaning or constructing one. It involves interaction of a written text and the reader. Meaning will be coined by the reader depending on the objective of the reading, the reader’s background, experience, attitude and the prevailing circumstances. Reading skills improve with practice which includes better speed and accuracy (Feitelson, 1988).
The differ in the sense that reading does not necessary involve any comprehension of the material being read as opposed to learning which require that one reads the material, comprehends it and uses that knowledge to adjust his/her behavior for a better survival.
2.1 Why children and schools fail?
Fail is a term used to mean not attaining a certain set standard. Most schools have pass mark or a pass grade. If a student does not attain that minimum mark or grade then he/she is considered a failure (Kristy, 2008).
There are quite number of reasons why a student fails. One of the reasons is lack of parental involvement and missing classes. Parents and guardians have a lot influence on the performance of their children. This is through their encouragement and instilling discipline. A parent should ensure the children have finished their homework in time and also they understand what they did to avoid cases of Xeroxing. Parents also motivate their children through gifts on good performance and setting better marks to achieve.
The other reason for children’s’ failure is poor organization of their work and time. A student should be able truck their assignments, finish them in time. They should be able to highlight what they do not understand and liaise with their instructors. Students need to be decent in what they do. Their study room should not be scattered. This will make studying enjoyable.
Most students have poor learning skills. Students should not only read but also understand what they read. Skills like developing concept notes should be encouraged. A student should always have a reading text and a pen together with a writing material to make short hand notes which are easy to comprehend.
Other reasons include lack of motivation from both their parents and teachers. Instant rewards can be used as motivation for instance gifts, trips among other treats. Long term motivation can also be employed like telling the student of life is good once he/she succeeds in their studies.
Low self esteem is another factor that interferes with performance. Some students believe that they are bad in some subjects and hence cannot perform in them. Discouraging such thoughts is essential.
Effective learning is promoted by resources. Books, modern libraries with internet make learning interesting. Modern facilities with adequate lighting and free flow of air can enhance understanding and promote long hours of concentration.
2.3 Brain based learning as a remedy to the poor performance of students
Brain based learning is the application of research approaches to ensuring that students understand what they are taught. It is an interdisciplinary approach which calls for active participation of the teacher and the taught. It involves the body, mind and science. For teachers to successfully apply brain based learning they need to first understand the process e.g. minimizing stress in class can increase absorbability of the students. The teacher therefore can give physical exercises in between the learning sessions to reduce stress. High levels of glucose also enhance understanding. Students can have snack time to boost their glucose levels and hence understanding (Joyce, 2009).
Brain based learning is a purposeful imparting of knowledge to reach the highest number of students possible at the prevailing circumstances. It is not a single thing but a cocktail of many approaches aggregated. Forms of brain based learning are through class discussion, group work, verbal questions, illustrations, research assignments and presentation. The approach incorporates the different senses of a human being for instance; the sense of sight, the sense of hearing and the sense of touch (Joyce, 2009).
2.4 Enablers of brain based learning
Teachers’ mental models should tailor to match what they teach and how the learning process will look like. A change in the teacher’s mental model can as well change the teacher’s perception. Teachers should drop the feeling that they know it all only because they teach students of lower knowledge than themselves but instead review their work, improve on what they have and settle any difficulties experienced by previous classes. Teachers should consult recent literature and research and use the findings on their practices (Caine, 2005).
Students’ emotions influence their academic performance. The teacher should be able to understand the emotions of the student. The student should be exposed to an environment where they feel secure are not fearful (Pool, 1997). Such an environment is characterized by relaxed alertness and the students are not anxious about their surrounding but are curious into knowing new stuff and internalizing it. Our emotions can drive our attitudes either positively or negatively. Positive attitude is required for improvement in our performance. It enhances understanding and also remembering what a student learns.
Learning environment is key in enhancing learning. Learning is enhanced when the environment caters for both the teacher and the taught. The environment incorporates school and home. Also sleep, food and water should also be factored for. The learning sessions should allow the students to participate in the process; the environment should also stimulate the students’ creativity. The environment should also enhance the student’s ability to remember visually and emotionally and also encourage students to take risks.
Assessment is always used to measure the understanding of the students. On the other hand it acts as a catalyst for the students to work hard in-order to meet the set standards. Schools should develop suitable standards to assessing the learning process. The standards should be consisted and realistic i.e. an average student should be able to achieve them (Goldberg & Stevens, 2001). Feedback should be one of the ways of improving the process over time. Students should have a chance of saying what ail them. The shortcomings have to be addressed as a matter of urgency (Goldberg & Stevens, 2001). The assessment techniques should be multiple to avoid biases and unfairness for all students cannot be of the same potential.
2.5 Challenges to promoting brain based learning
Teachers’ prior learning is a pre requisite to the success of their teaching approaches. When teachers are actively involved in the development of curriculum improves the productivity and delivery of the teachers (Craig , 1998).
The increasing student to teacher ratio has made it difficult for the teachers to deliver. Low teacher student contact makes it difficult for the teacher to address each student’s needs. Brain based learning require that each student be treated as a special case and reduce the general class approach. Physical infrastructure also should be in good condition for a smooth learning process.
2.6 Principles of developing an effective brain based learning system
The brain can perform more than one activity at once. Brain based learning system should discourage laziness by challenging the brain to perform more than activity at a time. As a student accomplishes one set of assignments, they should be exposed to more challenging assignments. This way the brain opens up.
The whole body is usually engaged in the leaning process. A brain based learning system should engage the mind, ears, eyes and any other part of the body as deemed possible. This enhances understanding.
Meaning is developed from patterns. Experience is also important in coining meaning of events by the learner. The system should also recognize that meaning is more valuable than just information. It is from the meaning that a learner can claim to have understood the material being taught.
Human beings are social beings and so is the brain. Brain based system should promote collective learning for instance group work, discussions and any other form joint efforts.
The system should also acknowledge the fact that every brain is unique and has unique capabilities. Also learning is developmental and it is progress in learning that should be importance in determining the effectiveness of the system other than the rate of understanding a concept for this will vary greatly among the students.
There is a shift on the way students learn. Modern approaches advocate for a more participatory form of learning as opposed to the traditional approaches where the instructor would only pass what he thinks is of importance to the students.
Brain based learning is not a one touch concept but an aggregate of many approaches brought together and improved over time to meet the changing needs of the client who is the student.