FREE Course Resources for Teachers to Apply in the Classroom
The Actualise Academy uses the "Big BEN" approach to teaching and learning:
Behaviour - Emotion (Psychology) - Neuroscience
As such, we structure our activities to help children and adults understand issues related to behaviour and our interactions with each other using a prescribed formula. We first begin with some Neuroscience, to understand the mechanisms of human behaviour. We then move to Psychology, to understand patterns of human behaviour, both as individuals and as groups. We then move to Behaviour, analyzing and understanding behaviours and how we might work to promote positive behaviours in the classroom, at home and in society in general. In the links below are some interesting games/exercises/topics you can use with learners in the classroom. They can help structure some fun interactions as children learn.
As part of active learning, these exercises and tips encourage the "involvement of the child in the active exploration and investigation" - a core aim of the Science, Environmental and Scientific Education (SESE) element of the Primary School Curriculum.
We have aimed to make our resources match the SESE pillars of Exploration and Investigation, and Integration. In particular, our resources are aligned with the explicit aim, as articulated in the SESE Curriculum document.
Michael's Top Tips for Teachers
When I was in school, we read "Lord of the Flies" in our English class. I spoke with my English teacher about it, interested in what had happened to a group of boys when they were left alone on the desert island. This was where my original interest in Neuroscience began. I wanted to know why these "civilized" boys did those horrible things to each other. I was interested in how they behaved of course, and that drew me to Psychology. But once I had finished my Psychology degree, I really wanted to understand why people are the way we are, and why we do the things we do. I always return to the word "why".
Why do we get shaky when we're nervous? Why do we find it so difficult to lose weight? Why do we keep going back to Facebook, even though it often makes us feel bad? Why do people act in a crowd in a way they would never act one-on-one? Why did the boys on the island turn on each other in such a brutal and callous fashion? Why do I feel a vibration in my pocket, but when I take out my phone, nobody has called?
When I am explaining brains to children in the clinic, they often reply with the one-word "why?" or the slightly more elaborate "but why?". It is fun and engaging to help them understand how their brains influence their behaviour, and how that learning can help us in our daily lives.
To read Michael's teacher resources, click here to sign up for free.
Pádraig's Top Tips for Teachers
In the 1990's The Den on RTE 2 used to show a cartoon called Animaniacs. It was my favourite TV programme at the time and one of my favorite characters in it was called Mindy. Mindy was an inquisitive, innocent toddler with a habit of attracting chaos. She would regularly question adults on the most mundane events by asking, "but why?". Upon receiving an answer, Mindy would ask again, "but why"... and again... and again until the adult in question would lose their patience and tell her to leave them alone. You can see Mindy in action here.
Years later, I find myself studying Psychology and Philosophy learning about Socrates and the Socratic Method. What is the Socratic Method you might ask? Well, the Socratic Method might as well be called the Mindy Method. It involves a conversation in which a person is asked to question their assumptions. It is a discussion in which both people can use probing questions to develop a deeper understanding of the topic. So, it seems that Mindy wasn't as ridiculous as we first assumed and had possibly refined the methods of ancient Greek philosophers!
My job as a Behaviour Analyst involves doing what both Mindy and Socrates did by helping teachers, parents and students develop a deeper understanding of what people do (our behaviour) and why we do it (the function/message). As a Behaviour Analyst I understand that all behaviour is communicating a message. It is important to identify this message and to think of the changes we can make and strategies we can use to reduce the need for that message to be communicated or help that message be communicated in different ways. I have included three examples of these strategies in my Top Tips, I hope you enjoy!
To read Pádraig's teacher resources, click here to sign up for free.
Rose's Top Tips for Teachers
When I was growing up in South Africa my primary school education happened against the backdrop of the emergence of the 'Rainbow Nation'. South Africa was leaving the dark shadows of institutionalised, racial segregation and oppression of the non-white majority by the white minority and entering what everyone hoped would be a bright new era of true democracy and equality. With this came much uncertainty as well as much hope and the tentative forming of a new national identity.
Entering my teenage years with all its inherent questions about who I was and my place in the world I also had the typical questions about humanity and what makes us tick that come with this age, and plenty of intense and emotive examples of people and systems at the extreme. I'd love to be able to write that I have this all figured out, but the forming of a new identity is neither simple nor straightforward and 'what makes us tick' continues to preoccupy me personally and professionally.
Studying Psychology over the years has provided a few useful insights along the way... it also continues to provide many, many questions! My hope with Actualise Academy is that my experiences of trying to apply the theory to practice across the lifespan and across situations can be of some use to you in the classroom, too.
To read Rose's teacher resources, click here to sign up for free.