Interesting research on brain activity suggests that students’ brains will synchronize when they’re all paying attention together…. and that students will be more “in tune” with one another based on some contributing factors.
One factor noted in the article is student personality – the more you like being part of a group, the more you will think like the group. Double-edged sword, there. (So “groupthink” really is a neurological thing.)
Second factor is face time: students who interacted with another classmate before the learning session began were more in sync during class.
My takeaways: the culture of the learning community is really important. A harmonious classroom encourages joint attention. Allowing students their between-class minutes for socializing without begrudging them that time may pay off in better attention (though with teens, I’ve found that interpersonal stress destroys attention).
A question: As teachers, when and how should we use brain-sync to enhance learning, and when might it become a liability?