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40. "Spice" up your classroom to engage the other senses

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40. "Spice" up your classroom to engage the other senses

Smells and colors have a strong effect on cognition. Our olfactory nerves are the only sensory nerves that shoot directly into the brain for direct processing; smell is our oldest and most primary sense. In regard to brain affect, vision trumps all other senses. Obviously, these two senses helped us the most when hunting in the jungle. We crave these sensations. Why not take advantage of this in the classroom? Change the smell and d├ęcor of the classroom to match the current learning objectives. This could be as simple as changing posters on the wall and/or bringing fragrances into the classroom. If you must lecture, make sure to spice the lecture up with vivid visuals. Don't underestimate the power of touch either. Tactile learning is not only for children. It is highly effective in adults too.

Teaching material from different perspectives via different senses, forces the brain to manipulate the incoming information in varying ways. This forces the brain to create more elaborate/sophisticated networks for that material as it is being processed. It makes the potential for future access higher because the neuro-network that is created from a multitude of perspectives will necessarily be more intricate and wider-reaching within the brain. It will therefore be easier to find when needed; the bigger the web, the more flies a spider can catch. Using emotional metaphors for synthesis also seems to help arrive at creative solutions that are more memorable too. So, being liberal and even artistic with varying perspectives is not a waste of time, it enhances the brain and helps with creative thinking in general. Art is good.

Although Multiple Intelligences theory (Gardner, 1983) is somewhat controversial, it is controversial because it is often misunderstood (misconstrued). Gardner never designed it to be a prescription for pedagogy, but an observation of how we develop intelligences via different domains.

Q. How difficult would it be to implement this maxim into your teaching context? No excuses! Get creative with it!

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