Using Time Efficiently
Using time efficiently and applying brain-compatible learning principles means thinking about and planning to use every minute purposefully. This is different than being in a hurry. It 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. All must be built on a foundation of safety and connection, which has been allotted the time necessary to be made.
- 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 is 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 does just that. Doing a quick review before and after a break helps capitalize on these beginnings and endings.
- A class should always start on time and include a clear statement of the learning goals, along with what will happen during the class period. The class should end with a closure that includes what was most important from the lesson.
- Begin and end with strong emotions 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.
How should lessons be planned and organized based on what is known about how the brain uses time best?