Tomlinson – Differentiation and the Brain

Positive learning environment actually releases (increases release of) endorphins in the bloodstream.

Students need to have positive and caring relationships with the teacher.  

Differentiation should not take more time.  The processing time for the kids and the time for practice should take more time.

Nature of good curriculum:
  • Very clear learning goals
  • Precisely what they should know, understand, and be able to do as a result of this week, this month, and this quarter.
  • Needs things that call for their attention
  • Needs to challenge kids
    • To cause them to think
    • All kids should be doing high-level thinking

    Brain Reasearch Says:
    • Curriculum races are not brain friendly. Working memory is limited.  Time for practice and reflection are necessary for learning to take place.
    • More information thrown at students decreases long-term-storage ability of the brain.
    • Brain likes patterns
    • The students should be able to answer: 
    • Does it make sense to me? (must teach for understanding)
    • Is it relevant to me?
  • Middle school kids are likely to remember 7-10 of all the things that we teach them
  • We need to build more neural networks.  THis is how you do it:
    • less is more
    • shorter is better
    • keep is relevant
    Test our curriculum against these conditions.

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