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I blog on Brain-Based Learning, Metacognition, and Social-Emotional Learning. I am the author of "Crush School: Every Student's Guide To Killing It In The Classroom" which is a book that helps students understand how their brain processes information and learns. In the book, I explain why students can learn anything and give strategies on how to learn effectively.

Navigating Knowledge With Neurochemicals

Co-written with Teresa Gross | @teresagross625

I like nonsense; it wakes up the brain cells.
— Dr. Seuss

The brain is the power that activates our thinking. When teachers become aware of how the brain processes information, they level up their teaching game. With this understanding, teachers are more likely to change their beliefs about learning and try new, often more effective approaches. But there’s more…

There’s Norepinephrine, Acetylcholine, and Dopamine (NAD). If those sound like some pretty trippy recreational drugs to you, it’s because they are. Well, kind of…

First, NAD is street legal and USADA approved, so you can and should use it with kids to enhance their performance. Second, you don’t need Walter White or Heisenberg to produce NAD in his top secret chemical laundry facility basement lab, because the human brain manufactures Norepinephrine, Acetylcholine, and Dopamine on its own. All you have to do is use your teaching to stimulate this (neuro)chemical production. You do this by being novel, active, and dynamic.

Be Novel

Whatever the topic or the concept is, find something new or cool about it. Wow the kids if possible with novel information, which stimulates norepinephrine release in the brain, in turn increasing student interest, alertness, attention, and memory formation. Their minds are nourished, nimble, and nifty!

Be Active

Show them you care! Walk around and interact with your students as they are learning. Ask them questions and comment on their product. Being actively involved will stimulate acetylcholine release in the brain, which is a neuromodulator responsible for better focus and motivation. Students are more attentive, their minds more able, and as a result they assimilate knowledge more effectively.

Be Dynamic

Make it fun! Change your tone of voice, be animated while discussing concepts, smile, joke, and have fun teaching. If that’s not your style, fake it till you make it. Dynamic teaching stimulates dopamine release, which helps with motivation, persistence, and memory formation. Dazzle your students, so they can be more disciplined and driven to succeed.

Have Fun aka Summary

Teaching and learning can be fun. And why shouldn’t they be? The neat thing about NAD is that when you talk about novel things, are actively involved, and teach dynamically, Norepinephrine, Acetylcholine, and Dopamine are released in your brain as well. You literally feel excited, focused, and happy!

Check out this amazing NAD Sketchnote by Teresa Gross that summarizes the post visually.

NAD Sketchnote.jpeg

So don’t get mad. Use NAD and your students will be glad. Is that so bad?

You have the power to change the world. Use it often.