Teachers, Instructors and Educators Benefit From Brain Training
It happens to every educator at one point or another in your career. You stand in front of the class, and your mind goes blank. You might simply forget the point you were making when a student asks a question. It doesn’t matter if it’s a subject you’ve taught for years and know like the back of your hand, or if it’s a new lesson you’ve never taught before. You may find yourself suddenly forgetting the name of a substitute you’ve worked with countless times, or you are simply not staying focussed in the classroom. You may be a driving instructor and noticed that your reaction times feel slower and your sense of direction isn’t as strong as it once was. No matter what you are teaching, being on top of your game is required to keep your students engaged, interested and learning. Having a fit brain means that your brain is wired to be well-focused, to observe details, to analyze and process information quickly, and to recall it accurately.
As an educator today you know the challenges of teaching in such a well-connected world. Every student has access to any answer at their fingertips, and you’ve got to keep them focussed on the day’s lesson and making it stick. You have likely learned a few techniques to help your students with their memory and recall, but how much time have you spent working on this for yourself? It is because of the plastic structure of our brains that students can learn new skills and information so readily as their neurons continuously rewire their brain to accommodate all this new information and skills. However, as we age so too does our brain. And while there is a natural cognitive shift happening, we can still harness neuroplasticity to keep our brains sharper.
Neuroscience in the classroom?
One of the amazing things about neuroplasticity is that it happens at all stages of our lives. For pupils learning things for the first time, this is a natural stage of brain development as the information creates new neural bonds and/or strengthens existing ones. Researches have used medical imaging to see how our brains physically change when, for instance, someone learns how to read. There are physical changes to the brain no matter what age you are when you learn something new, not just when your brain is still growing. As we learn more and more about the plastic nature of our brains, it can only help educators, and students, better understand how they learn.
Anyone who has spent any time in charge of a classroom knows how easy it is to have your attention split into a million directions at once - from keeping kindergarteners from painting each other to keeping middle school and high school students from texting one another, it is easy to split your focus and lose your grip on the lesson you are trying to impart. Fortunately, you can take steps to rewire your brain to deal with these disruptions by using scientifically verified brain exercises that harness the plastic nature of your brain to help it manage to stay focused and recall details when your attention is split. Being able to maintain focus and have quick and precise recall of information are essential tools for a teacher’s brain, and using clinically proven brain training programs such as BrainHQ can help keep those tools in shape.
Lost in your lesson?
If you are a driving instructor, you will not only need to recall information quickly and precisely, you will also need to keep your reflexes and reaction times quick as well as maintain your spatial awareness. In a past blog series we focussed on how BrainHQ can help driver safety, but it can also help maintain and improve your sense of direction. Even though we have multiple devices that incorporate GPS technology, they are not only a disadvantage to your continued cognitive functions (they do the thinking for you, thus not exercising that part of your brain) they are also prone to running out of batteries and other failures. By keeping your brain trained for spatial awareness you can impart the importance of simply knowing where you are and where you are going without the aid of technology. BrainHQ exercises can be used by the following groups to help improve or maintain the cognitive skills required for any educator.
School room teachers, educators and post-secondary professors and assistants:
- Divided Attention, Target Tracker - Focus on minute details even when your attention is split.
- Mind’s Eye, Syllable Stacks, Scene Crasher – Improve memory to recall quickly and accurately
- Card Shark, Auditory Ace, Mixed Signals, Mind Bender - Improve executive functions and respond promptly when asked a lot of questions on new subjects.
- Recognition, Face to Face - Pick up little details to remember everyone around you in a classroom setting and read facial expressions.
Driving instructors and other hands-on instructors:
- Hawk Eye, True North, Double Decision - Increase the speed of your reactions and improve your ability to navigate.