Wednesday, 23 January 2013

In the eye of the beholder...

I think I've mentioned this before - the thing about describing the behaviour to the student and not making judgements, but here I go again, because I've come across a perfect video to illustrate it.

To sum up simply: If someone seems like they're not listening to you, that doesn't mean they don't hear and understand every word you say. The same goes for a whole palette of possible misinterpretations...

And then there's this (be sure to click on the link, seriously - it's a gem). It begins with dr. Mary Helen Immordino-Yang of Rossier school of Education saying: "Real thinking is never divorced from emotion". Later on she elaborates it mentioning Descartes' error, term which also stands for António Damásio's book and signifies the division Descartes made between mind and body, emotions and reason which is erroneous in  Damásio's  view- skip to 5:20 to catch that. There's also a discussion on standardized tests and frustration in learning. I was happy to hear an expert say we should teach kids what they need to know regardless of the test format and then just help them apply it to the test, because it only covers a little bit of what they'll need in life. So very true about the school leaving test my students will take at the end of fourth grade - which is why I'm trying to bring the context of the outer world into the classroom as much as I can.
All in all -I've seen the video twice and am still discovering things. Check it out!!!

All my love,

Sunday, 20 January 2013

A sum of its parts: no more or no less?

So, I've joined an EVO session this year and decided to stick to it. Last year I gave up, because of the Blogathon - time management issues, but this year I'm persisting.

For those of you who don't know what an EVO session is, here it goes: EVO stands for Electronic Village Online. It's educators and scientists coming together to explore a subject for four or five weeks during January and February. Everything is free and everyone are welcome. There are workshops and discussions, sometimes live webinars, where people from all around the world share a learning experience or two - as you can join more than one EVO session, this year 10 are on offer.

I've joined Neuroscience in Education: Braining-Up Your English Lessons. Why? A part of me just wants to do everything at the same time, but it turns out I also had some mythical reasons. Puzzled? Well, let me explain. This little post of mine is not just a post. Every EVO participant needs to have a portfolio, so this is also the inaugural post of my first EVO portfolio. During EVO's week 1, we had to introduce ourselves with the basics of how brains work and some commonly accepted brain myths. It turns out - learning styles are something of a myth, as are multiple intelligences. I'm not sure if I like that. I grew very fond of learning styles and they helped me understand myself and my students better. I'll still give this a chance, maybe I learn even more.

There's another thing that struck me. In the material on Brain Basics (unfortunately I do not know the author or where it came from), I came across a very strong claim of what philosophy calls materialism:

All perceptions, thoughts and behaviors result from combinations of signals among neurons.

Sounds lacking in romance? No spirits or wonder? Well, judge for yourself:

If all of that is true, then do we know how a thought is formed? This opens door to so many unbelievable Matrix meets Inception and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind possibilities. Can we actually plant a thought into someone's brain?

Here are some more brain myths - see how well you fare:

So there's my food for thought, my ideas to mull on and explore.

What is the most resilient parasite? Bacteria? A virus? An intestinal worm? An idea. Resilient... highly contagious. Once an idea has taken hold of the brain it's almost impossible to eradicate. An idea that is fully formed - fully understood - that sticks; right in there somewhere. (Inception, 2010)

Are we JUST a sum of our parts? Are we a SUM of our parts? Or is there something more? Why introduce the more at all? And why not?

Well, no more or no less, I leave you with an anecdote on how wondrous whatever we are may be:

Teacher: What can we see in the sky?
Pupil One (8): A star!
Pupil Two(8): A moon!
Pupil Three(8): Pretty rainbows!
Teacher: Good job!! And what else!!
Pupil Four(8): A black hole!!
Pupil Five (8): No you can't see it with the naked eye - they're anomalies!!!!

Love to all,

Wednesday, 9 January 2013

To start off with a bang...

...or an ode, as you like it. But one must confess this is an example of gooooood collaboration.

There's some impressive patience and attention shown off at 4:24. 

Love to all near and far,