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How Teachers Can Take Advantage of Increased Moods and Energy in Springtime

How Teachers Can Take Advantage of Increased Moods and Energy Associated with Spring

Judy Willis, a neurologist and former teacher, urges teachers to take advantage of the increased moods and energy associated with the season change from winter to spring in order to optimize learning activity.

"At this time of year energy levels are boosted; students tend to be more curious as a result. Spring is a time to promote your class’s natural instincts to figure things out and to push boundaries, challenging them to take on more independent work," she said according to an article posted on TheGuardian.com.

Willis encourages teachers to be aware of how seasonal change affects students' sleep patterns and therefore learning. "As the hours of daylight extend into evening, melatonin release can be delayed and result in difficulty falling asleep at the usual time. This influences attention, memory and cognitive functions. With the delay of darkness, students also don’t have the usual cues to guide them to wind down outdoor play, transition to homework, or go to sleep at their regular times," she said.

As a result, Willis suggests that teachers be proactive in guiding students to managing their schedules for spring. "Guide them to plan after school-hours to avoid homework delay and sleep deprivation," because, she said, "it is more motivating to stick to schedules when students learn that information studied before a full night’s sleep is much more memorable than that obtained by cramming followed by less than six to eight hours of sleep."

She also suggests that teachers use the spring season to focus on building momentum and excitement for the next year. "Again through neuroplasticity, each time a memory network is activated, reviewed and applied it becomes stronger," she said.

"You will be able to show students that what they learn in school from year to year is like a growing plant within a cycle. What they learned this year (which you’ll be reviewing for final exams) will be more meaningful as they see and feel optimistic about how it will be picked up again as the curriculum continues."

Read the full article here and comment below.

Article by Nicole Gorman, Education World Contributor

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