The Four Brain Essential Learning
Steps (4BELS) for Optimal Classroom Instruction and Learning
“Everyone is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb
a tree, it will live its whole life believing it's stupid.” (Albert Einstein) Every student has a unique brain with strengths and weaknesses. All students are entitled to an emotionally safe,
differentiated instructional, high quality environment. All students are entitled to optimal learning opportunities according to the way their unique brain learns best. The Four Brain
Essential Learning Steps (4BELS) instructional process was developed based on the latest brain research to achieve these educational goals. Teachers implementing the 4BELS process are in
control of deciding what is best for their students as they teach within a classroom management structure that ensures accountability. The 4BELS can accommodate varieties of curricular content.
The 4BELS include an embedded performance-based student assessment method. The integrated assessment is time efficient for teachers to apply authentic and formative assessment
strategies. Formative assessment is made easy with the 4BELS to evaluate each student’s static and potential knowledge and skills.
The 4BELS process is focused on developing life-long learning skills
rather than on memorizing content. Skills developed with this instructional process include but are not limited to the skills of initiative, cognitive flexibility, effective expression and
thoughtful behavior, learning from experience, and finishing power organizational aptitude. The process accommodates a student’s learning differences and promotes inclusive classroom
accountability. Students are not competing against each other. They have the choice to engage in cooperative activities or individual assignments. Students are learning to respect
and appreciate their classmates’ as well as their own learning style differences and strengths.
Teachers implementing the 4BELS are facilitating a learning
environment that begins with introducing curricular content and subsequently offering choices for exploring and experiencing the new content. Teachers work with students to organize plans for
the purpose of interpreting and applying new material. Students are continually completing experiential projects that illustrate the relevance of the curricular content to their own lives for
In conclusion, many studies indicate the benefits of formative
assessment versus summative assessment for everyday differentiated instruction. Data indicate that students who understand the relevance of curricular content are more likely to develop
intrinsic motivation that bolsters retention and recall for higher summative and formative testing scores. Students that are engaged in 4BELS instructional learning leave school at the
end of the day with a feeling of accomplishment that is tangible. They build self-esteem and confidence for the ability to succeed in a world of challenges.