So I was reading How Did You Know That?, an essay by Bonnie Sheryl Kimmel on learning styles. About mid way through the easy I came across a statement that pretty much sums up what we the importance this essay holds for teachers. Kimmel says in her essay “that learning occurs both with and without awareness”. Simple, yet profound. Much like the child learns not to touch a hot object by toughing a hot object, the brain is always in learning mode. The key to a well balanced brain based learning experience is to understand the difference between having an implicit versus explicit goal. Having either can challenge the brain in different ways, but too much of both can over load the brain and no worth while learning will occur. So how do we make the most effective use of goals (or assessments) in a brain based learning curriculum?
Implicit learning means that with implied goals or objectives while explicit learning is more specific and structured. Studies have shown that implicated learning allows the brain to explore more than just write and wrong answers and may be better suited for brain based assessments. While this is not true 100% of the time, it seems that implicit learning is the most conducive. That being said the paradigm of structured testing in schools would need to be broken. Implicit learning does not always have a right and wrong answer. So how can you grade a student? That is the million dollar question and possibly the reason that brain based learning is not more popular.
So is that a good enough reason to stop perusing brain based learning programs. No, but it does need to be addressed. As I sated earlier, the paradigm that goes along with testing to determine a grade is the way schooling has been conducted since the beginning of time. The power of the brain is still unknown and until we change the methods of teaching and how learning is conducted we may never know the brains true potential.