Community News and Announcements
The Brain - A Magnificent Tool for Learning
More than 80 parents joined the session run by Carol Koran, our Director of Learning, yesterday. Our brain is our thinking tool, and Carol helped us better understand how the brain works. Carol provided advice about how you can help your children as they grow and develop their brains.
Carol mentioned Professor Judy Willis.....
Professor Judy Willis is a neuroscientist, doctor and teacher who is a world authority about how the brain effects children's learning. Judy Willis has researched the reasons why children find computer and video games so interesting and addictive. She says that video and computer games are compelling because they offer individualized achievable challenges to their participants. At the beginning, a player is presented with a goal. The player begins at level one, and through trial and error (feedback) builds enough skills to ultimately pass level one successfully. The next level up challenges the player's newly developed skills, but ultimately, through sustained effort, practice, and persistence the player succeeds at that level. The player can progress up through all the levels. The players feel the pride of knowing that their effort caused their success (the dopamine effect). If a player is feeling stuck, usually they can find hints on the internet or learn tips from their peers. In this way, video and computer games offer help and support, leading to further success. This idea of achievable challenge within each video/computer game player makes video games so popular.
Carol also talked about the neuroplasticity of the human brain....
Neuroplasticity - You Can Change Your Intelligence
Neuroplasticity is the idea that with repeated thoughts and actions, our brains change, and intelligence can be increased. Scientists previously believed that many parts of the brain only change during the "critical stages" of infancy and early childhood.
Intelligence is not genetic- research now suggests that the brain of any person can be developed right throughout his/her life. If a region of the brain is stimulated repeatedly (which happens when we practice using information or repeat a particular task), the connections between neurons (nerve cells) in that region will be strengthened, and new cells may be added. These strengthened neuron connections, if used consistently, become useful, long-term memories. However, if a neural pathway in the brain is not used, it will be pruned (removed).
Our job is to build useful, long-term neural memories and pathways.
Developing students who have excellent creative thinking and critical thinking skills is a key part of our graduate statement. Having a better understanding of how brains work is an important first step in developing improved creative and critical thinking skills.
The positive feedback from yesterday's session was so overwhelming, that we are planning a "Learning and the Brain- Part 2" session in January.