Rethinking Learning
conversations about the future of teaching and learning
Barbara Bray
be creative, innovate, take risks, unlearn to learn
Oakland, CA

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Making and Strengthening Connections
By Barbara Bray    March 20, 2008 -- 08:17 AM

David Warlick is presenting today in Arkansas with Pat Wolfe about what's happening inside and outside of the brain. [2 Cents Worth] Wish I was there but next best thing is to follow David's blog. This quote he wrote is great:

 "You donít grow brain cells.  What grows are dendrites, and Dittos donít grow dendrites!"

Pat shared MRIs of an MRI reading of brains when the subject is passively viewing words, listening to words, speaking words, generating verbs.

I can see this when I watch students or anyone who are passively taking in facts instead of being involved in learning and researching the information to determine their own conclusions. The brain needs activity. That's why children love interactive games, texting, and just interacting.

Just imagine what we've done to their brains with all the testing and accountability stuff. It makes me sad to know that we have taken almost a whole generation of children and taught them how to not think, how to follow directions, how to fill in bubbles on a test. Why? The world we prepared them for isn't here anymore.

My last post was about a neuroanatomist who experienced a stroke on her left brain. We have induced stagnation of the right brain on beautiful young minds and encouraged only use of the left brain. Tomorrow's workers need to know how to think, problem-solve, which is the logical brain, the left brain. The right brain is the compassionate, living in the now brain. This is the brain that takes the initiative and acts on it.

Just think about the multiple choice tests you took in school. The tests on specific dates where there was no relevance to how these dates related to anything else. Why did you need to learn these in isolation? That's what's happening now. Good teachers go beyond the tests but there isn't enough time to cover all of these miniscule trivial items. There has to be a connection - a real world connection. If students take the initiative to find the connection and then share it with others, they'll remember it.

Categories: "Authentic Learning" "Brain-based" "Children" "Engagement" "Future" "Problem Solving"

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