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23 June 2017

posted 22 Jun 2017, 16:04 by Carolyn Brett   [ updated 22 Jun 2017, 16:04 ]
Learning is a social activity. That's why collaboration features so strongly as an underlying principle at our school. It's not because it's fun to work with others or 'hang out' with friends in class, it's for a scientific reason. From a neuroscience perspective, 'making learning stick' is more likely to happen when certain activity in the brain is enhanced - that supports memory and recall.

"The brain networks activated in social interaction will then be more likely to be linked to new content..... these networks include the medial pre frontal cortex.... a region important for processing identity, self-evaluation, and self- relevance." (Heatherton, 2011)

The other useful way to use collaboration to increase capacity for learning is for learners to be teachers. Teaching an idea is a definite for deeper learning. That's why you may observe a child teaching a group a particular maths strategy, another modelling a language feature with a group pf peers. So, when we think of how natural it is for young children to 'play schools', they really are providing a fabulous collaborative environment for great learning. The brain will be working in mysterious ways!

It's exciting to be in education in the times when we are learning a whole lot more about how the brain works and make the link with how to optimise conditions for deep learning. We are also wanting to break down the walls between learning and play..... you may have witnessed some very interesting 'contraptions' in the playground of late. I was chatting to a group of young ones the other day who had spent a few days constructing a roof out of layers of driftwood and flax over their playtimes. They said, "We want it stable and that's why we have pieces going one way and another and have tied it together with flax......." I heard maths, technology, science and learner attributes all tied together beautifully in a large flax bow! And do you know what? No playground 'issues' either! That's got to be a winner! Brilliant!

Now...... to work on how we are going to store our 'bits and pieces'....... I think that will be a collaborative task!

Have a lovely weekend and see you on Monday for Matariki Tree Planting and a Day of Appreciating Beauty and Excellence!
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