Talker or Brain Based Mentor at University?

Some  university faculty add value to the learning process. Others clearly do not. That’s not new. But what separates good faculty from those who fail the learning process?

New neuro-discoveries changed playing fields yet some faculty cling to sage-on-the-stage mentality. Poor faculty see their role to lecture and test for facts that stick through rote. Are learners quiet? Did they arrive on time? Did they read a chapter of the text? If not – why not? Organizational concerns appear valid and help lecturers deal with minimum fuss. It would work fine if lectures worked. They don’t.  They cut learner retention at 5% while brain based teaching approaches jump to 90% retention.

What sets effective faculty apart? Their mentoring skills for starts. They might toss out a 2-footed question that draws learners in with one foot and leaps forward into course content with the other. Brain based faculty recognize that if their approach isn’t truly interactive, learners likely lose out and not succeed in their sessions. Rather than tell facts up front, effective faculty help learners to hook new facts onto past experiences. Mentoring skills tend to stoke what learners know to improve their situations. Yes,  university learners can grow their skills, regardless of where they start.

Ask the lecturer in this video and he will say he engages listeners.  He might even go on to suggest today’s audiences expect too much and give too little. Ask listeners and they may support these 100 reasons to run hard from lectures!

Have you considered lately how …

Brain based teaching is more a mentoring role as guide to the side, rather than sage on the stage lecture ruts roles, for which they trained. Rejuvenated faculty can renew an entire university.  Yes, even when a few faculty shift directions brain friendly roles not dictated by how they were taught to teach, so much as how current minds reshape to learn.

The gap between telling details and creating approaches to newly discovered solutions – narrows when faculty devise dynamic tasks and then facilitate a wider mix of intelligences. Without doubt, it takes smart skills for change that stirs curiosity and nudges adult brains along. Faculty that the MITA Brain Based Center certify, often learn alongside students, and learners sometimes teach.

The shift from telling to talent-building leads to innovations beyond campus circles and extends to every field. A university campus that shifts to brain based mentoring tasks could become first to offer their prototype campus for the nation’s lab. Ready for the coming university brainpower boom?

8 Comments

  1. Coming from someone who in college looked like the person in your picture, I would love to see changes in the norms of learning. The mentoring aspect has always seemed missing. Thanks for your charge in the right direction. Change will happen through your efforts.

    Chris Crimminss last blog post..Can’t or Won’t

  2. eweber says:

    Hey Chris, what’s up? Somany thanks for your kind words and encouragement. Since I’ve just been asked to keynote at a University on brain based knowing – I thought it seemed a good chance to roll out the welcome carpets for a finer way. You speak for far too many learners and it does not have to be that way. Change is rarely easy – but a momentum is picking up out there.

  3. Wally Bock says:

    Great post, Ellen. Part of the challenge is to change from concentrating on “teaching” to concentrating on “learning.” Colleges now are set up for the convenience of the faculty, not for the benefit of the students.

  4. eweber says:

    Thanks for your kind words, and I find it interesting that you say that, Wally, since the teacher is the one who benefits most from this model too. Sadly, we have build an industry around a more that no more fits the human’s brain’s way of learning, than a marathon would fit an eagle’s approach to moving.

    Luckily a few more progressive campuses are looking to skills and approaches more fitting to the era students will face.

  5. [...] many still lecture and demand rote responses in paper-pencil-tests, faculty who know research on retention , tend to facilitate brainpower from [...]

  6. [...] universities that mentor more than talk, stir curiosity for a better world, and [...]

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