Dr. Jamie Perry on Helping Students Understand How the Brain Works


Helping students understand how the brain works and adjusting her teaching style accordingly is the key to success for Dr. Jamie Perry, an assistant professor in communication sciences and disorders who has been at ECU since 2011.   Her students have responded well to this approach and singled her out when College STAR surveyed students last year.

"Instead of testing on excessive amounts of information from multiple chapters, Dr. Perry lectured on roughly one chapter's worth of material per week and supplemented exam grades with weekly quiz grades from each chapter," the student wrote.

Dr. Perry said assessing students every week caters to a lot of learning styles and reduces the anxiety associated with tests.   "I have ADHD," one student wrote, "so learning the information in small increments was very helpful when studying for quizzes and exams.   I was expecting to have a difficult time in this class because I have never been good at anatomy and science, but I really enjoyed the information she taught because of the way she presented it."

Dr. Perry said she is also able to share a lot of funny, memorable stories from her clinical experience with her classes.  "This anecdotal input helped me, along with the rest of the students, tremendously in getting a full understanding of the subjects covered in class.   In addition, Dr. Perry is extremely approachable and personable, providing a relaxed learning environment for those students who tend to ask more questions, or need more information than others," the student wrote.

Having practical examples to share in class is an asset, Dr. Perry said.    "It helps them relate what we've learned in anatomy to what it would look like in the real world.

"For students with learning differences, I help them understand that the brain is just a big network, the whole circuit is not unplugged, things may just need to get rerouted," she continued.

Dr. Diane Majewski, Project Director for College STAR at ECU, said an engaging lecture style is always appreciated by students.     "Students respond well to  instructors who make the effort and have the ability to grab and keep their attention in class and make class material interesting," she said.

Dr. Perry said it's just a fact that students don't retain massive amounts of information when it is presented to them all at once, and she enjoys the challenge of making her material memorable.