Custom-fit teaching – Brain development key

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. — Helping teachers understand how different children think so they can tailor their teaching to each student is the goal of Chapel Hill nonprofit All Kinds of Minds, Newsweek reported in its Oct. 2 issue.

The group’s founder, Dr. Mel Levine, a pediatrician at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, says the old one-size-fits-all approach to education allows too many students to fall through the cracks.

He and his colleagues believe that understanding brain development is key to improving the way children are taught, Newsweek said.

To help teachers understand the science of the brain, Levine has organized current thinking about learning into “neurodevelopmental constructs”, which include attention, language, memory and social cognition.

These constructs act differently in each individual brain to create a unique way of thinking called a learning profile. The profile serves as a balance sheet of the child’s strengths and weaknesses.

In All Kinds of Minds courses, educators are taught to recognize these strengths and weaknesses and help students overcome those weaknesses.

An untrained teacher, for example, may penalize a child who constantly looks up and down when copying assignments from the board and still fails to complete them.

But a teacher who has taken the All Kinds of Minds course would recognize that the student may have short-term memory problems, and would apply solutions such as providing a copy of what the student needs to write down or allowing students to work together.

The “all kinds of minds” approach asserts that by being more observant and prescriptive in the classroom, teachers can reach many children who may otherwise be referred to remedial services.

For full story, go to Newsweek.  

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