Learning to Learn: What Neuroscience Tells us About Learning

We all know what it means to learn, but sometimes we find it difficult to teach how to learn or how to learn to learn. For this, in recent years, neuroscience has brought to the attention of people the cognitive processes that are set in motion in the acquisition of knowledge.

In this article we will see what brain-focused research tells us about how to learn to learn.

How does the human brain learn?

Neuroscience tells us that the brain does not learn by repeating, but that information is consolidated by “doing”, moving, creating, moving us. The cortex is a motor organ, and the child requires play and movement to discover, explore and, therefore, learn.

Likewise, we consolidate information better, when we relate to others and there is an emotional implication. As Jan Amos Comenius said; “Everything that at the time of learning produces content, reinforces the memory”.

Education should be aimed at enhancing the best of each individual, helping us to be more creative, to put passion and soul into what we do and to develop socially and emotionally. And for this, it is important that both teachers and families take into account the following points.

1. Knowledge of the brain

Knowing and understanding the functioning of the different cortical structures that work in the learning process will help parents and teachers to accompany our children and students in the best way possible in the study.

Teaching them to rest during their study every 15-20 minutes to perform Brain Gym exercises or an activity of a certain physical intensity for 5 minutes will help them reactivate their executive attention system. In addition, the latest research on the brain reflects that including dynamics such as Mindfulness or yoga in the classroom potentiate many factors associated with the so-called executive functions. The latter are responsible for fundamental cognitive systems for school, such as attention, self-control, working memory or cognitive flexibility among others.

2. Cooperation

It is essential to have a vision of teamwork between the school and the family. Allowing contacts between teachers and parents through meetings or cafes, can promote a more fluid communication and promote a deeper knowledge of students. Another interesting aspect could be, to rely on family members as facilitators or collaborators within the dynamics of the classroom, and can become a great resource for teachers.

Within the classroom, this cooperation may also be possible among the students, through the support of the other. Create “travel companions”, where two guys are reference to each other, for topics such as pointing at the agenda or take the material home.

3. Motivation

Creating the spark of curiosity in them, is something important so that they can get going and maintain interest. Make them understand why they study what they study, what implications they have in their day to day, and to do this they use contextualized learning, with practices in the laboratory, in the open air or with centers of interest that awaken their desire to learn. Support learning with audiovisual material, documentaries, excursions and games, will encourage your enthusiasm and your desire to learn.

4. Connection

Connecting and empathizing with our son or student is the basis for them to feel safe in the way of their formation. Being able to see them, feel them, understand them, will make it easier to accompany them in the academic field. If we have a child who is having difficulties, and we make him see that we understand how he feels, we calm him down and pick up his discomfort, it will help him to make sense and it is easier for him to begin to trust in himself, with our help.

Watch the following video from Barbara Oakley at Google about Learning to Learn!