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  Learner Centric
  Research-based Curriculum
    Overview
    Based on Brain Research
    Multiple Intelligences
    Integrated, Theme-based Curriculum
    Bloom’s Taxonomy
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Research-based Curriculum > Based on Brain Research

Exciting discoveries in neuroscience and continued developments in cognitive psychology have presented new insights about the brain, the human neurological structure and the attendant perceptions and emotions that contribute to learning. Educators today are fascinated with the implications of connecting knowledge about how the brain works with teaching and learning in the classroom. Conclusions as to how the brain works are based on basic research of Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI).

The KKEL Research and Development team uses this latest research to develop its curriculum and enable children to learn in a way that is most effective as well as engaging. Presented below are two key findings of brain research and how they are used in our curriculum.

Example 1 - Using research on synapses

A child is born with approximately 100 billion brain cells or Neurons.

 
It is not the number of brain cells but the ‘number of connections’ that are made between those cells that determine usable intelligence. These connections are called ‘synapses’ or neural wiring.

During early childhood, children develop many more synapses / connections than they do as adults. These connections are pruned or lessened when they are not used. Therefore the more ways something is learned, the more pathways are made.

For example, when learning about ‘cats’: when we see a cat, it goes into the visual image region of the brain. When we see the word C-A-T spelled out, that information goes into a language-association region. After learning about the characteristics of a cat, the association is made with members of the cat family like the tiger. Later we build associational memories with the cats we have seen around.

Because the information about cats is stored in multiple brain areas, and cross-referencing occurs among these areas when we think about cats, connecting networks of dendrites (connecting cells) sprout among these memory storage areas. This circuitry permits multiple cues or stimuli to call forth all our ‘cat’ knowledge instantaneously. Just seeing the word "cat" will put our recall systems online to provide all the stored data we have connected pertaining to cats. We may not need all that information, but because the associations activate these circuits, any of the stored information that we do need will be rapidly and efficiently accessible.

That is the reason for teaching important material through multiple learning pathways such as several senses (hearing, seeing, touching) as well as through several subjects (cross-curricular topics) at Billabong High. To know more about how we do this, you can read about Integrated Learning and Multiple Intelligences.


Example 2 – Using research on memory

Short-term memory involves the ability to hold and manipulate information for use in the immediate future. Information is held in working memory for only about 20 minutes. The challenge students face is to move information from their working memories into their long-term memories. If they do not do this in about 20 minutes, that information can be lost. To keep this newly learned material from slipping away, it needs to enter the network of the brain's wiring.

Effective teaching at Billabong High international School uses strategies to help students recognize patterns and then make the connections required to process the new working memories so they can travel into the brain's long-term storage areas. To know more about how we do this, you can visit the page on Bloom’s Taxonomy.

To see how the latest developments in brain research influence our preschool curricula and environment, please click here.


 
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