Brain research shows us that learning is highly dependent on positive emotions. Try to create positive learning environments and situations with low stress and a high-challenged frame of mind. Please note that creativity thrives when there is challenge, enjoyment, interest, engagement and involvement.

During the learning process give them challenging tasks to think and create new ideas building upon what they have learnt. For example, ask them to recommend changes to something and explain why they have made such recommendations. (How might you change the structure of your textbook to make it more student-friendly? Or, how might you change today’s lesson so that future students can learn more easily from it?) Challenge them to invent machines, slogans, theories, solutions, products, advertisements.

Learn as much about each learner as possible. Back to School and All About Me activities given at the beginning of the school year is a good opportunity to find out about the learner profiles of your students. This information will enable you to plan your lessons to cater the needs of all learners in your class and to form groups in a productive way while you are desingning cooperative and collaborative learning activities.

Our brains learn better if we are given the big picture first. Before starting each lesson tell the students what they are going to learn, why they are learning it and what the outcomes/expectations will be. You can even ask them to analyse how what they are learning might link to jobs, ideas, actions, beliefs, other subjects they are studying or relationships. Or, where it might have come from originally and why it is important for students to know.



Present material in an intelligence-friendly way. Decide what is truly important and present that content in a number of ways, addressing all the relevant intelligences. Make sure that students with different learning styles and interests will benefit from your lessons. Keep as much movement in the classroom as possible not only to engage your kinesthetic learners but also to increase memory and concentration. Try using manipulatives and other concrete objects in your lessons for the visual learners in your classrooms. Auditory learners will benefit from ‘Discuss with your partner/group’ type activities. Remember that variety is the spice of attention, so try to use different strategies during the different phases of the learning process.

kinesthetic learners



Build curiosity for learning. Learning will never take place if there is no curiosity. Ask questions to ignite curiosity. For example, ask them to predict the content of a text by reading the title and looking at the pictures or the ending of a story they are reading.

Try to activate multiple senses. For example, ask the students to visualize the characters or a scene in the story they have read and then to dramatize it. They can also write a poem about the theme of the story, design an alternative book cover, write a letter to one of the characters (young learners can make puppets of the characters) or create a video, a comic strip, or a board game about it or an ad to promote it. Alternatively, they can make a storyboard of a narrative poem they have read and then write a story/script/play or create an animation about the poem. They can also write a letter to the poet or create a digital poster about it adding appropriate visuals and music.

Teaching students metacognitive strategies has proven to help improve learning. Giving explicit attention to thinking and learning helps them transfer their learning to different contexts and enables them to understand themselves better as learners. Therefore, students should be taught study skills such as organization, time management, strategies like mnemonics or SQ3R and they should be encouraged to use mind maps, concept maps, graphic organizers.

Research shows a strong correlation between the effective use of graphic organizers and academic achievement. They help us see relationships and make abstract concepts more concrete as we visualize them. Please remember: Our memory functions much better if we store data in several regions of the brain. Ask your students to process the information they are studying by using graphic organizers to brainstorm or compare and contrast ideas, concepts, etc., to infer meaning (read between the lines), to make predictions, to distinguish fact from opinion, to analyze cause and effect and to solve problems.

Please make sure to choose graphic organizers that match with the learning goals and your students’ needs. Before they start a project on any subject, give them a KWL, KWFL or a KWHL chart. Ask them to fill in the last column of the chart at the end of the project and the rest at the beginning.

The use of these graphic organizers helps students connect information meaningfully and gives them time to reflect on the new information. Apart from the websites mentioned above, Read Write Think offers digital graphic organizers with lesson plans on how to use them as well as other great resources.

Use relevance to increase the level of attention. Our brains weren’t designed to remember facts that aren’t relevant to our lives. For true learning to occur, we have to transfer what we have learned from academic to real world applications. For example, you can have your students respond to the texts they have read by text-to-text, text-to-self and text-to-world questions/activities that require students to make connections with other texts they have read, their life experiences and their prior knowledge to retain the new information. Ask them to write personal response-type journal entries on the stories they have read. Pairing fictional texts with non-fiction texts with a common theme will also make learning more meaningful. For example, if the setting of the story they are reading is Antarctica, they can start by reading a non-fiction text on Antarctica and/or doing a research project on Antarctica.

During the learning process, the learner must be engaged, focused and allowed time to process the new information. Activities like Wait-time, Think-Pair-Share, and Three-Minute Pause promote achievement.

Give them multiple forms of review to assess their progress in a variety of ways and to reflect on their own learning. During the learning process (not only at the end of it) give them opportunities to evaluate their learning and that of their peers’ in order to monitor how their learning is progressing and set personal goals for future learning. With the help of self-assessment, students are expected to become critical, active thinkers who can take responsibility for their own learning. It helps them perceive the process and growth of their language learning; thus giving them the tools to examine and improve their own learning methods. Through peer-assessment, students can be models for each other by sharing their work. It helps them learn from others’ strengths. They can also learn how to accept and give productive criticism and praise. Moreover, it is useful for comparison purposes. Students can compare how they view their work with how their peers evaluate it, and then compare them all with their teacher’s evaluation. Rubrics and checklists should also be given to students to help them reflect, review and evaluate their performance on a completed learning task, recognizing their strengths and weaknesses and taking steps to improve themselves. Encourage your students to keep learning logs / journals to reflect on their own learning.

If you want your students to remember something make it memorable by including music, movement, drama, costumes, hats, art work, etc.

If students are given opportunities to interact with the information they need to learn actively by using the strategies above; in other words, if they discover, interpret, analyze, process, practice, and discuss the information instead of memorizing it, this information will be stored in the long-term memory. Another way to increase retention is giving students opportunities to rehearse learned material by teaching or tutoring others.

Some of the handouts in this post have been created having been inspired by Mike Gershon’s wonderful resources: The Plenary Producer and my favorite, Plenaries on A Plate. Mike is a popular blogger and resource creator. Mike’s resources have generated about 1 million views and downloads through the TES Resources Web site and the Guardian Teacher Network. Please check them as they will offer you many more ideas to enhance your students’ thinking and learning skills. Don’t forget to click on the f5 key before you start. 🙂


Considering the number of students who feel disengaged and fall behind because the way they learn doesn’t match with how they are being taught, we should all personalize learning; in other words, modify instruction to individual students’ learning needs, interests and learning styles rather than a ‘one size fits all’ approach. We all know that all programs should be based on the learner, learner-centered and process-oriented approaches rather than teacher-centered approaches to enable learners to become aware of their abilities and potential in the learning situation. Of course, engaging diverse minds with multiple activities and engaging each student as he or she enquires into problems is not an easy task to do especially for teachers who have neither been educated nor trained that way. Luckily enough, we have technology as a great source to provide more flexible learning opportunities for our students and the new discoveries in neuroscience give us valuable information on how our brain functions. Therefore, as a first step to personalize learning, both teachers and students should understand how learning takes place.

ASCD’s A Lexicon of Learning defines brain-based learning as:

Approaches to schooling that educators believe are in accord with recent research on the brain and human learning. Advocates say the human brain is constantly searching for meaning and seeking patterns and connections. Authentic learning situations increase the brain’s ability to make connections and retain new information. A relaxed, non-threatening environment that reduces students’ fear of failure is considered by some to enhance learning. Research also documents brain plasticity, which is the brain’s ability to grow and adapt in response to external stimuli.



From University of Washington Neuroscience for Kids


The first chapter of the book, Research-Based Strategies to Ignite Student Learning: Insights from a Neurologist and a Classroom Teacher by Judy Willis gives excellent information on Memory, Learning, and Test-taking Strategies. Please try to read it even though it is a bit long because it gives very useful information on how the brain works, how learning occurs, and what kind of activities teachers should implement in the classroom to enhance learning. The handbook, Six Tips on Brain-based Learning and the resources published by Edutopia may also be useful.

We should consider the principles of Brain-based Learning and Howard Gardner’s theory of Multiple Intelligences while preparing  our lessons. Considering the fact that each brain is unique and people have different learning styles, we should all help our students discover and develop their talents to become self-motivated and competent lifelong learners.



From University of Washington Neuroscience for Kids


Below you can find some brain-based activities you can implement in your classes to enhance learning:

BGFL MULTIPLE INTELLIGENCES: Students can take the test on Multiple Intelligences after reading the information on learning styles. You can use the results to differentiate learning. You can use VARK LEARNING STYLES INVENTORY for the same purpose as well.

LDPRIDE.NET: This website provides an explanation of what learning styles and multiple intelligence are all about, an interactive assessment of learning styles, practical tips to make your learning style work for you, and information on learning disorders. They also provide links to LD sites, which, I think, teachers who believe in personalized learning will find very useful.

Education World, a website all administrators and teachers should frequently visit, offers ideas to implement Gardner’s theory in the classroom.

One activity to raise students’ awareness on multiple intelligences and different learning styles can be to ask them to prepare a mind map, on multiple intelligences after reading the information in the following websites:

GARDNER’S THEORY OF MULTIPLE INTELLIGENCES: Please scroll down to see the links below in the Related Articles section.

MULTIPLE INTELLIGENCES: This article published by Northern Illinois University, Faculty Development and Instructional Design Center, offers tasks, activities and assessment for each type of learner as well as information.

Your students can watch this video called Brainworks on how the brain functions on University of Washington’s TV channel or you can try some of the activities in Neuroscience for Kids with your students.



Created on quozio.

According to the Partnership for 21st Century Skills, the core competencies that our students need to acquire in order to be successful members of the global economy in the years to come are:

1. Core Subjects  (English, Reading or Language Arts; Math; Science; Foreign languages; Civics; Government; Economics; Arts; History; and Geography )and 21st –Century Themes (Global awareness; financial, economic, business and entrepreneurial literacy; civic literacy; health and wellness awareness).

2. Learning and Innovation Skills

  • Creativity and Innovation Skills
  • Critical-Thinking and problem-Solving Skills
  • Communication and Collaboration Skills

3. Information , Media, and Technology Skills

  • Information Literacy
  • Media Literacy
  • ICT Literacy

4. Life and Career Skills

  • Flexibility & Adaptability
  • Initiative & Self –Direction
  • Social & Cross-Cultural Skills
  • Productivity & Accountability
  • Leadership & Responsibility



Credits to Educational Technology and Mobile Learning


All core  subjects, including  English, should be taught considering  all these competencies. It is a well-known fact that  today’s managers want their work forces to possess skills in “critical thinking and problem solving, communication, collaboration, creativity and innovation.” Therefore,   we should incorporate these skills into our lessons . The question is: How are we going to do it? In the following posts in this section, I ‘ll try to answer this question by giving examples from several resources. Please feel free to share your ideas and other resources that you think all of us will benefit from.



You can see the original version of this infographic at the ASCD Web Site.


The graphic below clearly demonstrates why we should reconstruct (or co-construct) education to meet the demands of the society (Education 3.0) today. It is broken up into three categories–Education 1.0 (the old way), 2.0 (the current way), and 3.0 (the future way).




This RSA Animate below on changing education paradigms adapted from a speech by Sir Ken Robinson, world-renowned education and creativity expert, gives us clues about what changes we should focus on while re-designing our programs to meet the demands of the century we live in and the needs of our students.