Whole Brain Teaching

Chris Biffle, Whole Brain Teaching for Challenging Kids

What is Whole Brain Teaching?

Whole Brain Teaching is a set of strategies that combines attributes of Direct Instruction and Cooperative Learning to create opportunities for learning social skills as student roles and procedures are rehearsed. Students know what is expected of them at all times.

Benefits of Whole Brain Teaching

Benefits for teachers

There are three benefits for teachers using Whole Brain Teaching (WBT) methods:

  1. Positive behavior reinforcement.

  2. Memory retention.

  3. Student engagement.

These benefits work to reinforce one another as well; as students are surrounded by positive behavior; they can learn better and students will inevitably behave better when they fell more confident in their learning.

Benefits for students

There are a lot of benefits for students in a WBT classroom. Students can have an overall more empowering experience as they take on the role of a teacher instead of traditional classroom models of taking in and regurgitating information. There are three main reasons students can benefit from WBT:

  1. Motivation.

  2. Student-centered learning.

  3. Application of learning.


WBT exemplifies the philosophy that teachers educate the whole child, not simply teach one subject are at a time. Therefore, classroom discipline and management is equally important to quality lessons, not simply for teachers to have control of the classroom environment, byt also for students to build self-efficacy in the process of learning. 


I really enjoy the concepts of whole brain teaching, as it gives the teacher a tool to manage the classroom without yelling or feeling overwhelmed. Classroom management is very interesting to me, and something I feel I do naturally when I am in front of the class, but after being introduced to these structures, I feel more at ease and more prepared, as I know how to prepare my class.

The value of Whole Brain Teaching is even bigger if implemented always, and with the same rules, but by minimin, every time they have that specific teacher. If a whole school incorporates the same principles in all classes, the students will have an easier time to fit the rules, and it feels transparent and easy to understand.

Emil Alexander Holm Thorsen