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The Message
Evansville, Indiana
December 2, 1994     The Message
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December 2, 1994

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J 10 The Message -- for Catholics of Southwestern Indiana Brain compatible learning Connecting learning to creativity, usefulness and emotions By MARY ANN HUGHES Message staff writer Why is it that every adoles- cent in America can learn to drive? Because they have deter- mined that driving is useful. Usefulness is one of three criteria that teachers can use to encourage their students to learn, according to Brother Robert Bimonte, who was in Evansville recently to present a workshop on "Brain Compat- ible Learning and Interdiscipli- nary Learning." Along with usefulness, Brother Bimonte added cre- ativity and emotional connec- tion as instruments which pro- mote learning. In beginning his presenta- tion, he talked about the three parts of the brain: the brain stem, the limbic system and the cerebral cortex. He ex- plained that the brain stem "keeps you alive, but there is no thought or language. With- out you being aware, it is con- stantly scanning for danger, and engaging our survival in- stinct of fight or flight." The instinct of flight or fight is not necessarily physical, Brother Bimonte said, explain-  Peoples Trust Company SOUTH MAIN STREET P.O. BOX 191 LINTON, fNDIANA 4744 1 LrNI'IIZD fUTIIWlJ BKNK IQmm WASHINGTON-SHOALS-LOOGOOTEE ing that a student can com- pletely shut down the learning process while sitting in a class- room. He said there really shouldn't be much of a ques- tion as to why today's student The third part of the brain is the cerebral cortex. It's the only part of the brain where thinking and learning take place and it's the seat of lan- guage and thought, Brother Bi- monte said. .. the main predictor of student achievement is a positive response to the question: Does the teacher like me? rate: five percent. Reading, average retention rate: 10 percent. Audio-visual, average re- tention rate: 20 percent. Demonstration, average re- tention rate: 30 percent. Discussion group, average retention rate: 50 percent. Practice by doing, average retention rate: 75 percent. Teach others/immediate might shut down, as many spend their days in schools with guns and knives. "That's why it's no mystery why we can graduate students in New York City after 12 years who can't read or write. Learning cannot take place where it is not safe." The limbic system is the seat of all of our emotions, both pos- itive and negative. This system is important to the educational process because 80 percent of the brain's memory circuits are located in the limbic brain As Brother Bimonte explained, "It acts as a filter determining what goes into long-term mem- ory and what goes into short- term memory. Positive experi- ences go into long-term memory and negative ones go into short-term memory." That's why, often when stu- dents are dealing with difficult emotional situations, there is so much emotional turmoil that no long-term learning can take place. Although every student moves back and forth between all three parts of the brain every day, if teachers want learning to take place, they must try to "keep our students in the cerebral cortex." During the teaching day, Brother Bimonte suggests "12 minutes of instruction, and then a reality check. The teacher needs to ask, 'what did you learn here and how does it apply to you?" " He encouraged teachers to make sure their students are "engaged and involved" in the learning process. He offered three elements which he be- lieves produce learning: cre- ativity, usefulness and emo- tional connection. In explaining creativity, he questioned how creative teach- ers are in presenting informa- tion and then he offered a learning pyramid which corre- lates presentation of informa- tion with retention rate. Lecture, average retention I FIRST FEDERAL Sav and Loan Association Washington & Loogootee II "@ D'O'W'N'T'O'W'N 301 MAIN ST.  VINCENNES, IN 47591 Miller & Miller Colonial Chapel Supports the Knights of St. John MEMBERS Bernie Miller Gerald Miller Jon Miller Greg Betz Depressed? Suicidal? Feeling Hopeless? THE HELP LINE 1-800-852-7279 We offer TJE, confidential assessments and helpI BEHAVIORAL HEALTH CENTER U.CoCo.=Se,00o. ] ,,o__ , bIEMORIAL= HOSPITAL -m.Ky I And Health Care (=enter m ao -o BILL GREENE! f FU N E RAL H 0 M E JIM GREENE I , :=i ,, Pre-planning..... ' Because you care INc. " 425-2896 3018. S.E, 218T STREET (812) 254-5788 Charles H Browmng FUNERAL DIRECTOR WASHINGTON, IN 47501 FAX (812) 254-5766 . (Fatbeo Jean 8rOwn,ng-Heslr FUNERAL DIRECTOI use of learning, average reten- tion rate: 90 percent. Along with creativity, teach- ers must also provide their stu- dents with information about the usefulness of the subjects they are teaching, Brother Bi- monti said. "Every single adolescent in this country can learn to drive. Why? Because they determine it's useful. "I ask teachers, 'Why should anyone learn what you teach?' And if you can't give me a practical answer, of here and now usefulness, then my ques- tion to you is, 'why are you teaching.'" He offered the example of teaching parts of speech. He questions the effectiveness of such teaching because he be- lieves "You learn to speak by speaking, and you learn to write by writing. How is it that six-year-olds can learn 80 per- cent of their vocabulary and all the basic rules of syntax and grammar without ever having opened a grammar book?" He added, "Yet students spend an inordinate amount of time doing workbook pages." Finally, he encouraged teachers to find an emotional connection in their teaching. He questioned them about teachers they had studied with themselves, asking if they re- BIMONTE, F SC! membered teachers and teachers they feared. He believes that learn from teachers and respect. hated and feared high test scores, but will not have ory of their lessonS, that learning has neled into since it's connected ative experience. ' " He then cited a by Robert Rosentha looked at var might affect ment. race, gender, IQ socio-economic students. He that the mare dent achi response to the the teacher As Brother plained it, "It what IQ, what background, structure." Interested in a Master of Arts or certificate in Pastoral Ministry, Educatmn. Religious " Classes beginning next semester in E Daviess County. Call Jim Corr, Director of Religious Education, at 5536 or 1-800-637-1731 Information meetings will be held on Tuesday, 29, 1994, at Rivet High School, Vincennes, (EST) and TUesday, December 6, 1994, at Councils Room, Evansville, at 7:00 p.m. (CST). KREMPP LUMBER CO. BUILDING MATERIAL SUPPLIES & GENERAL CONTRACTING HOMEGENTER CONSTRUCTION 482-1961 482-6838 COMPLETE I SERVI' Ph- 482-1125 SUBS TO : THE