Knowing Your Brain


Kat and I had another AP Lang 20/20 (20 minute discussion, 20 minutes reflecting on it) on #EdJourney today. This time we were discussing part 2 of the book “Blazing the Trail: What Does Transformative Learning Look Like?”

I’ve really been enjoying this book as a whole, but one of the specific things that the book has made me ponder really deeply is thinking about “What would my ideal education system look like?”

Towards the end of Part 2 specifically, there is a section titled “mindfulness” on page 171. This portion talks about neuroscience and how teachers at the University of California, San Diego use what we know about neuroscience to dive deeper into how students learn and how they should be taught.

I found myself wishing that we as students were required to take neuroscience; even greater, a neuroscience/phycology transdiciplinary course.

Teachers often say they want to teach a certain grade based on where students are in their life during that particular moment in their schooling career. I still recall a moment during my freshman year where one of my teachers said that they loved teaching freshman because freshman year has a lot to do with self discovery, and that’s what this teacher wanted to help mentor students with figuring out.

I wish that we put even more emphasis on self discovery. Imagine if every student studied neuroscience and phycology and got to learn about how brains work, and specifically got to talk about why everyone learns differently. Then imagine if students were actually able to layout “These are my strengths, this is what influences me most, and this is how my skills work well with other people.”

As a junior, I still don’t think that I have a great grasp on how I learn or what my greatest strengths are, or why I am able to do the things that I do. Sometimes people talk about “great teachers” or “great students” and we can identify these people, but do we really know why? What makes a great teacher? What makes a great student?

Furthermore, how often do we reflect on these concepts while in school? There were several points in Part 2 where the idea of reflection came up. How some schools, such as Christ Church Episcopal School in Greenville, South Carolina, take about 20 minutes out of their daily schedule to actually be quiet, take a walk, and just ponder in thought and then share out if they want at the end.

This reminds me of retreats and camps I’ve gone on/to, but the section “Stopping” challenged some of my assumptions by posing the question of “Do reflection and deep talks have to be reserved for retreats?” What if we had this quite time imbedded into the day?

Now my school specifically, MVPS, has lots of blocked off time that’s “free time” for students to work on things. We have a 20 minute break on Monday’s, lunch and enrichment everyday, and a 20 minute club time on Fridays. However, personally, and I know it is the same for many others, I end up using most of this time for meetings.

I’d maybe like this break in the day to stop and reflect, but it is hard to do so on my own. I think it would be neat to have everyone stop, think, and wonder for times during the day.

Then maybe I could reflect and think during school rather than getting distracted while reading this great book that makes me rethink about everything. 🙂

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