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8 October 2021 - How Does Learning Happen

8 October 2021 - How Does Learning Happen

I often refer to teachers as ‘Brain Changers’. After all, all learning happens in the brain and teachers dedicate themselves to make learning happen. That’s why we feel that understanding how the brain works is an essential part of teacher’s training and these kinds of conversations should be an important part of the teacher-student dialogue at regular times. This makes perfect sense to us. Taking that argument a bit further, it would also make perfect sense for a curriculum developer to take into account what we know about how the brain learns.

This is exactly what Fieldwork did when it developed the International Primary Curriculum (IPC). The curriculum that we use has been specifically designed to mirror the way children learn. Those who are familiar with the IPC know that it centres the learning around a topic per unit of learning, usually a period between 3 to 8 weeks. These units of learning all follow the same pattern of activities. This is where the alignment with how the brain learns comes in.

All IPC units start with an ‘Entry Point’, often referred to as the ‘Wow Factor’. This piques the children’s curiosity, alerting their brains that something is going to happen. In this phase, the brain enters a higher state of alertness and already the first connections to prior knowledge get activated.

Making connections becomes even more implicit when the unit enters the ‘Knowledge Harvest’. Children work out what they already know about this topic and what they would like to learn. This is where the children connect with their prior knowledge and start making the connections that prepare the brain for learning. This is exactly how learning happens in the brain. Millions of excising neurons, stored in the brain, get recollected and make connections with new neurons to create new knowledge and skills. It really is all about connections!

Then we share with the children what the learning in the different subjects is going to be and how it is all connected. This part of the unit is called ‘Explaining the Theme’ or ‘The Big Picture’. The brain experiences the world as a holistic experience where everything is connected. So again, explaining the connections fits in beautifully with how children learn.

The children then engage in a number of learning activities that are often research-related in which they record what they are learning. As they are gathering their research, they are continuously connecting their findings and the neurons in their brains keep forming new clusters.

When the children are entering the presentation phase, they are moving towards the unit’s ‘Exit Point’, a celebration of learning! During those final sessions, children become the teachers, sharing and presenting what they have learned. This strengthens the connections in the brain, making them easier to be used again, recalling the knowledge and skills that have been stored. Here is the point where the learning gets solidified.

So, in a nutshell, this is how the IPC units are designed to follow the way the brain works. In our experience, it is a very effective way of helping children to learn. We have evidence of this every day!

Mr. Marco Damhuis (Head of Primary)
Email Contact : marco.damhuis@pc.tis.edu.my

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Taylor's International School Puchong
201101010017 (938156-A)
No.1 Jln BP 14/7, Bandar Bukit Puchong 2,
47120 Puchong, Selangor Darul Ehsan
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