How Do We Meet Current Research Data? – Part 2: Ways to Create an Optimal Learning Environment

Today, we continue our series entitled How Do We Meet Current Research Data?, exploring how the latest brain and education research impacts curriculum and learning, with Part 2 of the series: Ways to Create an Optimal Learning Environment.

Facts may eventually become outdated, but the skills of thinking, making meaning, developing understanding, and problem solving never will. More important than the solution is learning how to solve a problem.

While workbooks are routinely used in many educational settings, many workbook tasks are not interesting, do not provide rich instructional possibilities, lack clear objectives, allow false-positive feedback, consume teachers’ time in scoring, and – most importantly – occupy time that can be otherwise spent teaching students things they do not already know. Worksheets tend to make reading a chore and create a feeling of drudgery and boredom for many children.

World-renowned developmental psychologist Howard Gardner advocates:

“The brain learns best and retains most when the organism is actively involved in exploring physical sites and materials and asking questions to which it actually craves answers. Passive experiences tend to attenuate and have little lasting impact.”

Therefore, an optimal learning environment includes many hands-on experiences, creating a process of active involvement with rich, meaningful content that is not simply focused on an end result.

Next Monday: Part 3 – How Children Can Participate in Their Own Curriculum Planning

Previous posts in this series:
How Do We Meet Current Research Data? – Part 1