Whole Brain Teaching

My Thoughts on the Terminology

The phrase "Whole Brain Teaching" means a few different things to me as an educator. One thing you will see me mention countless times in my writing is that I strongly believe that anything we do in our classrooms (content, management, or otherwise) has to be tailored to meet the specific needs, personalities and interests of the students in our classroom. This may mean that we are planning with multiple intelligences in mind or differentiating our instruction. Essentially "Whole Brain Teaching", to me, means that my teaching strategies are consciously chosen in a way that meets the various needs of my students in one concise lesson. In other words, I am hoping that my lessons engage different areas of my student's brains in a way that each student is presented with information in a way that best suits their learning style(s) and needs.

I do not believe that just because I am a teacher who has a focus in High School History that I have to deliver stereotypical, lecture-based lessons that require my students to be writing notes for 45 minute periods every day. Do I have my students take notes? Yes. There is content that is important that my students write down for future reference and notes are a great method to meet the needs of my linguistic learners. If you were to visit me in a classroom, however, you would also see us physically acting out important battles in history, participating in debates on world changing topics, interviewing other students or members of the community on their thoughts or reflecting to truly understand our own viewpoints and biases. These lessons are 100% driven by the needs of my students and it is my personal goal to ensure that my teaching always reflects this... not what is easiest for me to prepare... not to fit in with what the other teachers around me are doing... but to meet the needs of the students in my room and ensure that they are provided with an opportunity to learn.

Whole Brain Teaching Management & Teaching Strategies

I am by no means an expert on Whole Brain Teaching (WBT) strategies and it is not my intention for this blog to be used as a promotion of WBT for your specific classroom. This blog is a means for me to reflect on my experiences as an education student and gain feedback from other people in the education community.

I find that some WBT strategies allow for me to easily differentiate instruction and meet the multiple intelligences of my students while also providing effective classroom management. If you would like to see more information on how WBT strategies meet my teaching goals please view the posts of this blog.

For full information on Whole Brain Teaching I recommend you check out the official website at www.wholebrainteaching.com. Their website provides informational videos, downloadable e-books, forums and much more.

Check out a few of the videos demonstrating the Whole Brain Teaching strategy by Chris Biffle, a director of WBT. He has many more on his YouTube Channel as well.

** Please note that the teaching styles that are represented in the videos showcasing WBT are not a representation of my personal teaching style. While I do incorporate certain WBT strategies into my lessons, they are NOT the focus of my classroom and everything is always modified to best meet the needs of my specific students. Remember, if students are engaged in the content, management is not an issue!


13 comments:

  1. i want to try WBT in an ESL class but i´m afrid my students won´t understand the intructions quite clear

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    1. What languages do you work with? I know of a few teachers who have translated WBT methods into French and Spanish who may be able to help you with the translation piece of it.
      You could also consider using the same strategies and just modify the language to a more simple level as well.

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    2. I know this is a bit late but, I am an ESL teacher and you can totally do it even if it takes more time for the students to pick it up. You can bring in props like a mirror, or draw a picture of one on the board and act out what you do in front of it so they understand the concept of mirror. For "teach/ok" maybe you can get two students to model it or someone from outside the class to help you model it. What has been successful in my ESL classes for teaching anything-from grammar to vocabulary- has been to always act out words and concepts and or draw pictures of vocab or concepts.

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  2. Can you recommend any professional texts on WBT? I am interested in learning more about it.

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    1. The Whole Brain Teaching website has a section of e-books that can be downloaded free of charge. There is a large variety that covers WBT lesson planning, specific WBT strategies and WBT in general.
      You do have to be a registered member of the WBT website but it is free to create an account.

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  3. I teach a class of students with autism. Two of my students are completely nonverbal. Do you suggest trying WBT with a special needs group? I feel like the routine would be positive, but I'm scared that some of the concepts will not be understood.

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    1. Thanks for visiting Erin! WBT, like any strategy, definitely depends on the needs/personalities/backgrounds of your specific students. Every child is different, especially children with special needs. I have no experience using WBT with children who have autism but here are some articles from the WBT Forum that may help you out:

      http://www.wholebrainteaching.com/index.php?option=com_kunena&view=topic&catid=11&id=11595&Itemid=203#12327

      http://www.wholebrainteaching.com/index.php?option=com_kunena&view=topic&catid=7&id=11555&Itemid=203#11994

      http://www.wholebrainteaching.com/index.php?option=com_kunena&view=topic&catid=22&id=816&Itemid=203#11126

      http://www.wholebrainteaching.com/index.php?option=com_kunena&view=topic&catid=58&id=11059&Itemid=203#11059

      http://www.wholebrainteaching.com/index.php?option=com_kunena&view=topic&catid=16&id=7625&Itemid=203#9977

      Even if the current forum discussions don't answer your questions they should provide you with some teachers who have experience with using WBT with students who have autism. I hope this helps!

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  4. I am an English teacher from Myanmar. I run English language school in my country. I came across WBT in the book written by Adam Khoo and I tried using in my classes, KG and adults.I found that my students really liked it and had fun. So I'm doing research more and more and your blog help me to some extent. Thanks a lot.

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    1. Welcome Thura! I am happy to hear that I was able to help out in your research :) If you have any questions or even if you just want to bounce some ideas around let me know! I am happy to help out in any way I can, or put you in touch with other educators who can help!
      Best wishes :)

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  5. Now, I'm reading on brain development and accelerated learning by Dr. Georgi Lozanov, a Bulgarian educator and psychologist. If I come up with some new idea, I will share with you. How about you? What are you reading these days?
    My email is geniusschool4genius@gmail.com.
    If you are interested in teaching in my country, let me know.Could I have your e mail? Thanks.

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    1. Right now I am in my last two months of my education degree so almost all of my reading is for my course work (I am also taking 3 online M.O.O.C courses). I am slowly making my way through Collapse by Jared Diamond and I'm loving it so far.
      I will send you an email so you can have my email.

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  6. I am in my 2nd year of whole brain teaching (now called Power Teaching) and I will never go back to what I was doing before. I teach 2nd graders and it is amazing what they can do with it! Teachers walk by and hear us OH Yeahing and Might Groaning and wonder what is going on. I have had many visitors who love it and then start applying it in their rooms! It is worth looking up for those of you who are interested. Youtube it!

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    1. Do you have a blog where we can see how you use it in your classroom?

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Thank you for commenting!