The focus of Bob Greenleaf’s talk was on long-term memory and recall – what we can do to aid with getting information into long-term memory and also how we can increase the odds that the information will be readily available for recall. Ideally, we want to be able to access information we have in memory and apply it both within the context in which we were first exposed to it, as well as in other areas that are related or not.
Some of Greenleaf’s talk was anecdotal, some of it more lecture-based, and some involved audience participation and group activities. He used ample overheads to complement his talk, and much of the information he shared is available in his book Brain Based Teaching: Making Connections for Long-Term Memory and Recall. The book’s style is somewhat dry but the content is practical and useful. Greenleaf’s presentation to our faculty was anything but dry! He is a lively, focused, on-target presenter, who knows what he is talking about and during his presentations practices what he preaches.
In December, 2004, and February, 2005, I took a Brain & Learning workshop with Greenleaf in New York City. Participation in that two-part workshop is what fueled my interest in learning more about the brain and what we can apply to teaching and learning from current brain research.
With other colleagues (including Kim Carraway, with who I have also taken a practical and useful workshop), Greenleaf runs several annual Brain & Learning Institutes, each lasting two or three days. At last count there were institutes in Albuquerque, New Mexico; Nashville, Tennessee; Hartford, Connecticut; and coming in 2008 the Frankfort International School, the location of which I am unsure. Direct links for these institutes are on Greenleaf Learning.
It may seem like I am pushing these speakers…well, I am! I am pushing them to those of you who are teachers and want to have a better understanding of how the brains of your students function. For that matter, the sessions are useful for anyone wanting to know more about how the brain functions – be it your own or someone else’s.