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Whole Brain Teaching and Memory Retention
Portage Township Schools

Whole Brain Teaching and Memory Retention

  • Updated

Portage Township Schools continues to engage students in Whole Brain Teaching (WBT) because it works.

Did you know, after a 24-hour period, an individual retains only 5 percent of what they have read, but 90 percent of what they teach to another individual?

Portage teachers are embracing the concept of WBT because the research supports these instructional strategies. WBT is a system of classroom management and instructional strategies that engage students by eliminating passive learning.

The lessons are carefully structured around a few major concepts, which are chunked into short micro-lectures.

WBT lessons combine the instructional strategies of cooperative learning and direct instruction while the teacher facilitates the lesson’s core concepts one at a time. The teacher then switches back and forth between the lecture and pair-share discussion. Students practice and review the concepts and are given feedback immediately.

Whole Brain Teaching benefits students and teachers alike. Students are engaged in the instruction rather than being passive receivers of information.

Teachers are chunking their lessons to include collaboration and movement; the students are repeating the teacher’s words and gestures in an effort to promote immediate application of new knowledge, but most importantly, they have to then teach it to each other.

Whole Brain Teaching encourages teachers to design lessons that provide students with the opportunity to immediately interact with new concepts through a concept known as micro-lectures. These lectures are short, specific pieces of instruction that build the depth of knowledge required to obtain the skill.

As mentioned above, the students are guided through the application of teaching the skill to their peers. This is the most crucial step in the lesson design in order to embed the necessary skills into long-term memory.

Why is this so important? The research of memory retention specifically states that the ability to teach others a new concept increases an individual’s ability to retain 90 percent of the material after a 24-hour period.

Portage Township Schools continues to be on the cutting-edge of the learning process, and the results for our students are evident. The learning methods used in Whole Brain Teaching create active learners and effective long-term learning.

Portage Township Schools recently shared the student outcomes of Whole Brain Teaching at the 2015 Indiana School Board Association Conference. Portage teachers involved in the survey reported the following: a 50 percent increase in student motivation, a 46 percnet increase in student engagement, a 38 percent increase in student collaboration during direct instruction, a 50 percent increase in critical thinking, and a significant decrease in the number of attempts to obtain mastery on common assessments.

Portage Township Schools continues to provide professional development for teachers interested in the Whole Brain Teaching strategies. Teachers are using these concepts to teach new concepts and review previously taught material. Students are required to interact with content knowledge through meaningful dialogue and active participation that engages all parts of the brain while having fun.


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