Monday, May 9, 2011

Gone fishing...

Teaching information in a variety of contexts gives students greater equality in access to knowledge and more opportunities to be challenged to their highest potential. The old adage holds true: “Give a student a fish and he will eat for a day. Teach him how to fish and he will eat for a lifetime." We already know education gives children the most critical building blocks to adulthood and self-sufficiency. In this scenario the student gets to be in the moment, HEAR the water slap against the boat; SMELL the water and the natural odours of the out-of doors; FEEL the tug of the fish on the line, the splash of the fish in the boat; SEE the size of the fish as it tries to flop back in the water; and finally TASTE the delicious fish as it is cooked over a camp fire.

Lessons incorporating cross-curricular studies , discovery science, role play, games, physical activity, art, music, or drama have the advantage of stimulating the brain (Thesen, Jonas, Calvert, and Ostenbauer 2004). Naturally a teacher is not expected to simulate every sense simultaneously. Rather teachers should engage all learning styles, thus drawing all students into the topic; whatever the subject.

If teaching a student to fish is multisensory, by all accounts would suggest an increased number of synapses and dendrites stimulated during the activity and would support the theory of multisensory input and the effect on the brain. Therefore, if greater brain stimulation promotes the growth of synapses and dendrites, and more areas are stimulated when information is passed through multiple senses, then multisensory presentation of lesson material could stimulate the growth of more brain connections and lead to better information storage.

So what? Since multisensory inputs more than one specific sensory receptor of the brain, then multisensory strategies may increase subsequent access of the cross-referenced memories for use on tests and build future relational memories.

Now if I could just teach the fish to bite…

What’s your story?

photo by spottedsparrow (Julia)

References: Thesen,T, Jonas, V., Calvert, G., & Osterbauer, R. (2004). Neoroimaging of multisensory processing in vision, audition, touch, and olfaction. Cognitive Processing

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