The Three Networks
What does this mean for instruction and learning?
The recognition network is located in the back of the brain. This is where we process what the sensory organs see, smell, taste, feel and hear. We can remember written words, what crayons smells like, the feel of the keyboard, and the sound of a favorite song because of this network.
The strategic network is located in the front of the brain. This is where the process of sending axons from the brain to muscles originates in order for us to perform tasks. The process of planning and organizing a project and completing it begins in the strategic network.
The affective network is centrally located in the brain. This is where our emotions are processed. What makes us happy or sad, or whether we like routines or novelty is determined in the affective network.
How Can Educators Apply Brain Reserch in the Classroom?
Thanks to digital imaging, doctors can actually see the brain networks process. They have discovered the brain not only process according to which network should be engaged, but also varies depending on the individuals skill level, thus they are actually able to watch learning happen!
Teachers can and should engage these three networks in the classroom to maximize each students learning potential. Doing so will allow teachers to address the needs of cultural, ethnic, linguistic, and academic diverse learners.
The recognition system is the 'what of learning" and can be activated by providing multiple examples, teaching pre-vocabulary, highlighting important parts of the lesson and activating pre-existing knowledge.
The strategic network of the brain is the "how" of learning and flexibility is the key. Educators can activate this portion of the brain by providing flexible instruction, flexible grouping, flexible ways to show what they learned, and lots of opportunities to practice skills while providing supportive and appropriate feedback.
The affective network is the "why" of learning. This is the area which motivation is or is developed. Teachers can motivate students with choice: choice of within the classroom, choice of level of difficulty and challenge, and choice of rewards.