Brain Science - 12 Brain-Mind Principles Used in Teaching & Learning


12 Brain-Mind Principles

It is commonly expressed that the best way to learn is through stories, but how stories affect the brain was not widely known until fairly recently. Over the past decade, there has been a growing interest in the brain science of learning. Perhaps best known in this important field are the works of Renata and Geoffrey Caine. Their best-selling books, presentations at conferences and support of teachers and learners are well known in education circles. In this work, they created and continue to update 12 Brain/Mind Learning principles. These principles, displayed in the image above, support constructivist, project-based, whole child, and child-centered learning movements. AwesomeStories learning model is supportive of all twelve principles.

The Caines' have demonstrated that students learn best when they are active in constructing ideas, and encouraged to explore. Their work has been widely used to understand student progress, to support innovations in education and advanced professional development for teachers.

"We choose to interpret brain research holistically. And the “12 Brain/Mind Learning Principles,” though the name may lead you to believe otherwise, are not based solely on the findings of neuroscience. Instead, these principles and the ideas generated from them come from a wide range of additional disciplines, including cognitive psychology, sociology, philosophy, education, technology, sports psychology, creativity research, and physics. All of the principles are 'the result of a cross-disciplinary search. These principles are not, the authors are the first to admit, definitive or closed to revision; as more is discovered about the brain, how we learn and remember, educators will need to update their knowledge. These principles are not meant to represent the final word on learning. Collectively, they do, however, result in a fundamentally new, integrated view of the learning process and the learner. They move us away from seeing the learner as a blank slate and toward an appreciation of the fact that body, brain, and mind are a dynamic unity." Dr. Renata Caine

In addition to the 12 principles illustrated above, the Caines conclude that “Optimizing the use of the human brain means using the brain’s infinite capacity to make connections–and understanding what conditions maximize this process.” They identify three interactive and mutually supportive elements that should be present in order for complex learning to occur:

  • An optimal state of mind that we call relaxed alertness, consisting of low threat and high challenge.

  • The orchestrated immersion of the learner in multiple, complex, authentic experience.

  • The regular, active processing of experience as the basis for making meaning.


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Author: Bond-Upson, Deborah 106stories and lessons created

Original Release: Oct 10, 2016

Updated Last Revision: Oct 11, 2016

Media Credits

Renata and Geoffrey Caine developed the 12 principles of Brain/Mind Learning in their books from 1990 on.

To cite this story (For MLA citation guidance see easybib or OWL ):

"12 Brain-Mind Principles Used in Teaching & Learning" AwesomeStories.com. Oct 10, 2016. Jan 18, 2020.
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