Why Blog?

I love to share things I come across with colleagues, parents and friends and others interested in matters to do with education. I am particularly interested in inquiry learning, gifted education, fostering independence and growing emotional literacy in our children. You may find posts interesting, you may not. You may agree, you may not but the important thing is you ponder about how it sits with you and your learning journey.

Have a great day!

Wednesday, 5 August 2015

Brain Development, Learning and Implications

Today I had the great pleasure in hearing Nathan Mikaere-Wallis share his knowledge, insight and wisdom with the Christchurch Junior School Leaders. Nathan was part of the Brainwave Trust, and is part of X Factor Education, Christchurch. He has been a lecturer at Christchurch College of Education, lecturing in human development, brain development, language and communication and risk and resilience. Nathan has a background of working with children in counselling settings relating to domestic violence, sexual abuse and childhood trauma.

There were a number of core messages in his presentation.

  • Brian research is relatively new. In the 1990s there was more research than in the previous 300 years.
  • Teenage brain research is 8 years old.
  • Healing brain research is 3 years old.
  • The frontal cortex isn't fully developed until an average of 26 - 27 years.
  • First 1000 days of a human's life is pivotal to brain development.
  • Historically we believed that brain development and potential was mainly due to genetics. We now know that brain can be moulded by the environment.
  • What is happening at this time influences the brain stem development and frontal cortex potential.
  • Other factors have an impact; gender, place in family, temperament, parent's education, poverty, extended family.
  • There is an impact of the ability to learn cognitively in the future.
  • Di-ad relationship in early years effects brain development.
  • Relationships are the most important aspect of learning.

What can we do for children whose learning potential has been impacted?
  • Ensure they have a strong relationship with a key person - this challenges the idea of a transition class.
  • Extend the duration of this relationship - can they have this teacher for a longer period of time?
  • Predictability in the classroom.
  • Consider starting school closer to 6.
  • Personalise transition to school practices.
  • Reduce focus on cognitive learning and national standards in early years.
  • Focus on learning dispositions (Te Whariki).
  • Consider practices of mindfulness.
To hear more from Nathan you can listen or download a podcast from National Radio. You can also follow him on Facebook.

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