I know Im completely untrained in all things pedagogical, but that didnt stop my precocious self from spending an afternoon browsing YouTube and contemplating a new movement in classroom styles called Whole Brain Teaching. I got the tip from an online forum thread full of teachers talking about what works for them, and aspects of WBT were getting rave reviews.
The features of Whole Brain Teaching (until recently known as Power Teaching) are as follows:
- High-Energy Kinesthetics
- Microlectures for material that is worth memorizing
- Students teach each other, reinforcing material and taking ownership
- Fun, inclusive, classroom management with choir-like call-and-response and a scoreboard.
Have a watch. In this self-referential video, one of the inventors of the method uses Whole Brain Teaching to teach Whole Brain Teaching.
Believe it or not, this college professor believes these techniques can work from Kindergarten through College. Heres an early adopter teaching a High School math class about the slopes of lines. Ive told my wife she should think about doing her college Precalc class this way, but she is skeptical to say the least.
As you can imagine, coming up with good gestures becomes a central part of the learning plan. The suggest gestures thread on WBTs fledgling forums is by far the most trafficked. Commendably, all materials on their web site are entirely free.
My impression is that most people using the techniques are picking and choosing which elements to use (with Class-Yes as the most popular). Additionally, the videos arent showing that more traditional stuff is going on, i.e. homework, group projects, etc. Its an approach very much in its infancythey only just had their first national conference this year. And while Whole Brain Teaching is not without its detractors and drawbacks, I have to be honest: I could see myself getting way waaaaay into this teaching style. Well see how I feel in 2.5 years.