Old-School Lectures Are Out

by Caroline Newton

“The goal is to create an environment that is meaningful, challenging, and in which the students’ minds are actively engaged,” said Rick Smith, author of Picture This! and Conscious Classroom Management

Smith not only presented his teaching style, but he also used that approach to lead his conference session, “Fifty Ways to Leave Your Lecture.” He encouraged the crowd to applaud whenever they felt the urge, especially because movement increases circulation to the brain, making you smarter.

“Neurons that fire together, wire together!” Smith said, pointing to PET scan images on the screen. 

To consistently involve students and make sure they benefit from the lessons, teachers need to understand how the brain learns. Scientists conducting rat brain research discovered that rats’ brains stimulated with ever-changing mazes had more neuron connections than those of isolated rats, whose number of connections shrank. Smith joked that if the rats had too much stimulation, they might learn to dance.

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