Smart Teaching: Understanding What the Brain Can’t Ignore
Do you know why infographics that combine compelling graphics, charts, lists and texts are so popular and spread so quickly? Our brain processes visual information 60,000 times faster than printed words or auditory cues alone.
In the last decade, we’ve discovered 90 percent of what we know to be true of our brains, but we still forget 90 percent of what we learn each day, usually within the hour that we learn in. How can that be? Because our teaching styles haven’t changed much, despite all that we now know is true.
But there’s hope—good friend and Orange leader Chris Lema, put together this handy guide to Sticky Teaching—some of the biggest themes in all the research, pulled together in one place for your own development and volunteer training.
So many of these concepts remind me of the chapter in Think Orange about how we refine the message to really amplify what’s important. (If you haven’t read it, pick up a copy here and dive in to my favorite section starting on page 135.)
When I look at this amazing infographic, I marvel at how research confirms much of what we all know instinctively, but have to really work at each week. Going down his ABC’s:
A – Awaken the Intrigue—We talk about sometimes not saying anything and creating an experience to really capture their attention.
B – Begin and End Often—We emphasize the importance of unpredictable routines and planned transitions so that kids feel safe but excited about what we’re learning.
C – Create Lots of Contrast—Sometimes we know to say it louder, we need a catchy series title, or a counter-intuitive Bottom Line or even visuals on the screen.
D – Draw them in with Stories—We’re wired for authentic stories, which is why we encourage leaders to personalize and share in appropriate ways every week.
E – Emotion Drives Attention—We know that kids are drawn in when they can empathize and relate, in addition to seeing how it applies in their own lives.
F – Focus on the Big Idea—This may be the most important point in an age of constant information. Say less so you can say it clearer and say what matters most. We want to really impress this on young minds and recycle key truths so they stick.
After you take some time to process this, what stood out to you most? What do you think is most helpful to know when you think about this Sunday and the kids coming to learn about the greatest story every told? Do you think anything’s missing? Looking forward to hearing your thoughts and continuing the conversation here.