We so often read a passage, or show a video to a group with the hope that they will find it totally engaging and bubble with discussion about the content afterwards. How often are we dismayed by people’s inability to remember anything at all from the reading or visuals?
What if we had a brain function that allowed us to notice and retain important information??
Actually we do, and it’s called the RAS – the Reticular Activating System. Its part of the fight or flight mechanism, and it’s what helps us notice police cars when we’re driving, or small children unattended at the side of the road. See http://www.itcpublications.com.au/blog/the-ras-alert-and-its-role-in-the-classroom/
The RAS recognises critical stimulus which we program into our minds, such as potential danger. Use it to your advantage with a group.
Watch these videos for fun examples of your Reticular Activating System at work:
Next time you prepare a stimulus for a group, identify your main idea and announce the question you’ll work on after the video/reading/drama/ is finished. Include a big hint about what to look out for. Your group is ready with their brains pumped to look for the clues you’ve provided…only then push the play button!
An example: reading a passage of scripture for a bible study:
- the strengths of each character in the story
- the characteristics of the main relationship
- the lessons for our modern life