Using Time Efficiently
Using time efficiently and applying brain compatible learning principles means thinking about and planning to use every minute purposefully. We have none to waste. This means choosing what is most important to include during times when we need students' attention and then allowing for time to process and make meaning. The amount of content to be learned must match the time available. Trying to cover, or cram too much stuff into too little time is just frustrating for all involved.
- The brain likes a focus-refocus use of time. Time needs to be built in to allow the brain to work with new content before more is added. Too much focused attention without time for processing and time to make meaning will result in much of what is being taught to be pushed out or deleted.
- Plan for the age of the students + or – 2 minutes for focused attention on new content then they must have time to process and distribute.
- The primacy/recency effect says that the brain is most likely to pay attention and remember what it presented at the beginning of a learning session and at the end. We can play with this by creating more beginnings and endings within a learning session. Giving short breaks provide the ability to have more beginnings and endings. Doing a quick review before and after helps you capitalize on the additional beginnings and endings and the fact that for each the brain remembers what was first and last.
- Class should always start on time and include a clear statement of the learning goals along with what will happen during the class period. Class should end with a closure that includes what was most important from the lesson.
- Begin and end with strong emotion to strengthen memory.
- When learning something new, the brain automatically searches for an existing framework of previously learned material to which it might attach. By planning time to activate prior knowledge before launching into a lesson increases the chances of stronger connections being made and that whatever is being taught is actually learned.
What most efficient use of students' time for the greatest amount of learning? How should lessons be planned based on what is known about how the brain uses time best?
Thoughts & Strategies
Plan To Put What We Know About Time To Work In The Classroom
- Start classes on time and plan to activate prior knowledge to "wake up" existing neural networks.
- Practice routines and rituals to ensure everyone can successfully meet the expectations. This will help use class time most efficiently.
- Create visuals for routines capitalizing on visual memory.
- Embed content into routines. Creating a content Memory Circle is one strategy that accomplishes this.