June 20, 2013

How can teachers de-clutter students' brains?

According to recent research, adolescents don't think the same way that adults do. Earth shattering? Probably not; however, according to Iroise Dumonthell, of University College London's Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience, the difference may be more about clutter than it is about experience.

Photo credit: Telegraph.co.uk
In an article in The Guardian, outlining the research, Dumonthell says, "It is not always easy for adolescents to pay attention in class without letting their minds wander, or to ignore distractions from their younger sibling when trying to solve a maths problem." 

Dumonthell and his research partners suggest that this clutter comes from differences in brain development. While this seems to be more about neurology than it is about education strategy, the research has me wondering what teachers can do to help remove the clutter in our students' brains. 

In fact, I considered the possibility that we may be the ones cluttering those young thinkers with a lot of unnecessary information. 

So, what do you think? Can we de-clutter students' brains and, if so, how?

Don't miss Mark's book ROLE Reversal: Achieving Uncommonly Excellent Results in the Student-Centered Classroom, now available in the ASCD store, Barnes & Noble and at Amazon.com