Applying Brain Research To The Everyday Teaching Of Mathmatics In The Classroom

An outstanding scholar in the field of Comparative Education is Dr. Helen Abadzi of the World Bank. She has written a powerful book - Efficient Learning for the Poor – Insights from the Frontier of Cognitive Neuroscience (Abadzi , World Bank, 2006) that can have profound significance for her target audience of students of poverty in the third world. What is so insightful is the strategies she outlines related to cognitive neuroscience are as equally applicable to poverty populations worldwide, including poverty in the U. S. This presentation outlines the seven pillars that support basic skills and efficient learning for the poor. It also creates a strong position for the significance of early childhood factors, and the advocacy for “Trickling Up” and investing more in the lower grades.

This presentation follows up Dr. Abadzi’s work with strategies developed for implementation by David Sousa, in his book How the Brain Learns Mathematics (David A. Sousa, Corwin Press, 2008). Sousa outlines important factors including number sense, early mathematics screening, digital memory span, and mental number line. There are extremely insightful examples of environmental implications. He presents practical approaches for teaching for meaning and using practice effectively. Important aspects such as use of technology, math anxiety, and quantitative style learners are also addressed. Traditional versus sense-making in instruction is a key component of his approach. Finally, there are specific strategies for layering the math curriculum, and putting it all together to plan the math lesson.

The presentation outlines the work of Abadzi and Sousa, and how their work has been implemented in Dr. Stone’s experience with everyday mathematics instruction.