Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Day 104 Neuroplasticity


Source: 
Wilson, D. & Conyers, M. (2016, November 8). "The teenage brain is wired to learn - so make sure your students know it." Edutopia special series. Retrieved at https://www.edutopia.org/article/teenage-brain-is-wired-to-learn-donna-wilson-marcus-conyers

What is Sacred:
I love the word neuroplasticity. It is future-focused, flexible, plastic, stretchy. I see synapses firing off rather than dead connections. It gives me hope in dark days because the concept of neuroplasticity means that our adolescent students have the capacity to change the structure and function of the brain through learning! That is POWERFUL and it is the impetus for us as teachers of middle-level and high school students to not sink into apathy, anger and quiet surrender. We must continue to teach with love and rage without which there is no hope (Friere). 

Here's the important messages that the authors want us to relay to our adolescent students: 
  1. They have the capacity to become functionally smarter. By their early teens, many youths have already formed an image of themselves as intellectually capable—or not. It’s important to emphasize for students in the latter group that past school performance need not be a predictor of future outcomes, if they are willing to persist in the hard work that may be required when learning gets challenging. (Dweck, Growth Mindset)
  2. Success in school is largely determined by the learning strategies students employ, and not by some innate talent for academics. Students across the continuum of current performance can learn and improve effective problem-solving and study skills to nudge their grades in a positive direction.
Connections to Current/Future Work:
I have the link here rather than taking up more space just regurgitating their piece, but I really love the tools for self-directed learning that the authors share. I am definitely linking this to my online discussion forum for my EDUC 410: reading and writing across content to get students talking about the importance not just of reading, but re reading and what effective re reading and meaning making can look like in their classrooms. 

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