Friday, August 17, 2012

WBT: Prog530 Orientation

Whole Brain Education vs Traditional Education: Compare and Contrast
I'm now going to loosely follow Coach B's suggested list to earning 700 certification points in 7 weeks. I feel much more comfortable doing this now that I've read through the First Steps articles and written my thoughts on those here in my blog.

First up, my response to the Orientation Video Prog530 WBT Orientation.
Get comfy cozy, this is an hour long!

The certification Question from this video:
What are the strengths and weaknesses of Whole Brain Teaching compared to traditional education?

Children have to be educated, but they have also to be left to educate themselves. - Ernest Dimnet
No matter the style of education you choose to teach with or are mandated by an administration to use, the goal of every one is for children to be educated. Education must be able to leave a child at the end of their formal education with the ability to think for themselves and continue to be lifelong learners. The question every new education reform in the last century has surely made teachers ask themselves is, "Will my students be able to educate themselves?" It is a goal of Whole Brain teaching to enable students to go beyond the traditional methods of learning so that they can succeed with a smile on their face.

While both styles of teaching do teach and share the required curriculum outcomes, there are significant differences in both the atmosphere of the classroom and the method of delivery. Most teachers today were brought up in traditional classrooms, so it is hard when we are first asked to think outside the traditional box and use new reforms. But great educators want the best for their students, and so are therefore eager to find new ways to help our students learn to educate themselves. We need to ask, “Which is stronger, which is weaker?” It is when we are challenged to change that we are most willing to try Whole Brain teaching despite the differences to what we ourselves were brought up with.

The differences between the two styles of teaching are very noticeable. The first thing you will notice when walking into the Whole Brain classroom versus the traditional classroom next door is the volume of the student’s voices. It is not unusual to hear the class being happily loud, yet organized and on task. Most often when walking into a traditional classroom like the last few I have personally taught you'll find the students quiet and working alone. If they are loud it is unfortunately usually because they are disorganized and off task. It is more preferable to have a class that is working together even if it is loud if they are actively engaged in teaching themselves and each other.

The next thing you may notice when comparing the two classrooms is the level of the student’s engagement. In a Whole Brain classroom students are active participants in their education through various reforms such as teach-okay and the mirror to name just two. The short bursts of knowledge, immediate review and shared teaching helps students be a part of their own education. In contrast, in traditional education students are passive participants because the most common teaching styles seen include long lectures and questioning only one student at a time. These styles while possibly good enough for a college level class are sure to disengage student’s elementary students who need to be involved. Students who are engaged are most likely to educate themselves.

Finally, you may discover when observing a Whole Brain classroom the students are utilizing their whole brain versus the students next door in the traditional classroom who are only using parts of their brain at any given moment. Whole brain students simultaneously use their brain for seeing, hearing, speaking, action and feeling. While traditional classroom students do use all of these, they seldom use them all at once, utilizing their Whole Brain to the utmost of its ability. Whole Brain research has shown that students learn better when more of their brain is engaged. At their end of their education, students who have learned to use their whole brains to learn will be better equipped to continue to educate themselves wherever life may take them.

Personally I have never used Whole Brain teaching, having only learned much about it after leaving the classroom. I hope that when I do someday return that I will be able to utilize the newer method of teaching to ensure my students learn to think for themselves, and learn to question like a pro. Will my students be able to educate themselves? Hopefully I will be able to ensure that they will. Which is stronger? I hope I have shown through my comparisons of the two methods that Whole Brain teaching is the stronger method because students are engaged, active, on task and using their Whole Brains.

Thank you for reading my first certification post (if my other posts don't count). I have posted this early Thursday to the Whole brain teaching forum, and am sharing it here with you today.

Do you have an idea for a future post, or are interested in guest blogging or having me write a guest post? Please comment or email me!

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