Learning about it and enriching children's learning:
No child or adult is getting the most out of their brain. That's because we focus on content acquisition. We read a lot. We're active in listening. We hardly reflect on what we hear or what we read. Leave alone thinking on how differently it could have been expressed. We hardly exercise different areas of our brain at the same time. The net result is absence of 'larger brain use culture'. We see the same at schools too. If we believe that schools should be leaders, larger brain use would be the foremost activity of such a school.
One of the things we've got into the school system is the notion that we have to teach every child to know the same things as every other child, and worse, in the same way. That's quite wrongheaded. It doesn't reflect what makes a child effective in the real world. We need to set up the child to be as efficient as possible in acquiring new information regardless of the content domain. We should also equip the child to express it the best way possible according to the child's style of thinking. The rest takes care of itself. Study of the way brain works would compel this kind of a disposition towards learning and schooling.
Learning occurs as more and stronger connections are made between neurons. Children's brains are more open to the shaping hand of experience than at any time in our lives. In response to the demands of the world, the baby's brain sculpts itself. The way a child learns language is almost a miracle. As children, we acquire language which is the hallmark of being human. We learn many more complex things without being taught, almost perfectly. Whatever is taught is learnt incompletely or partially. The lesson is that brain needs experience to learn and more so we need to study and learn how brain learns and functions. We need to change the "nature vs. nurture" debate closer to a "nature AND nurture" consensus. "Human development is a blend of nature and nurture, genes and environment," (Dr. Lise Eliot). The human brain is especially plastic early in life, which is why the "nurture" part of the equation is so important.
As we progress in terms of civilization, the demand on devising more and more effective models of education becomes imperative. We need to tackle all the ills of fast-track development. Both to tackle problems and to enhance learning, understanding of brain and development becomes paramount. Inclusion of such understanding of brain as part of teacher training courses become obviously important. BRAIN is the answer.
Montessori and the Supple Brain
Children's early learning experiences have a profound effect on their development. In Exploration Mode, children's receptivity to new influences and capacity to learn are at their peak. During this period, they acquire a variety of important skills, knowledge, and attitudes that will affect their ability to learn, their personal development, their relationships with others, and their future participation in society. Along with the positive attitudes to learning and school that children develop in these early years, the knowledge and skills that children develop by the end of Exploration Mode form the basis of effective learning in the later years of school.
Teachers have to work to provide constructive and consistent learning experiences that will build students' confidence, encourage them to continue to see learning as both enjoyable and useful, and provide a strong foundation for their future intellectual, physical, and social development.