A new Brain each day

Featuring Judy Willis.

Neurologist and classroom teacher, Dr. Judy Willis is a true legend, a bestselling author, international speaker and researcher; she is widely recognized as a pioneer in the application of neuroscience to learning. Join us as Judy shares with us the latest findings on neuroscience, their impact on education and how, in this promising field, the best is yet to come.

(Music by lesfm from Pixabay)

Episode notes:

  • My goal is to empower people to feel OK about mistakes and to feel OK about the challenge.
  • Greatest barrier to communication was what preceded, what we now call neuromyths.
  • As people learned these things and they were debunked, they lost interest in neuroscience.
  • When people thought of changing behaviors through neuroscience, they thought of right and wrongs, very narrow parameters. They now realize that the brain benefits through connections.
  • Applications are wide open but they cannot be a yes or no.
  • Now that we can see when the brain and the prefrontal cortex are most responsive, neuroplasticity, more firing more wiring.

The early years are powerful influences. But it is not a closure. No matter what state of development the brain is in, neuroplasticity is always there.

  • There is no cutoff point.
  • The solution is not to say that’s too much screen time. We need to prepare any learner not for the now but for what’s coming. Who knew 10 years ago that all would have to become computer literate.
  • We don’t know what’s coming next, we need to prepare any learner for the now and the critical thinking to evaluate future applications of technology and AI.
  • Guiding a learner to think critically is inevitable and required. There is more and more information. We need to prepare learners to discern the validity of information and its quality.

We are all born with a new brain each day.

  • Students need to learn from the beginning that correlation does not equal causation.
  • Neuroplasticity strengthens the pathways that are most frequently used, so consumer bias confirmation needs to be recognized so that each individual learns how to figure out their own group.
  • In terms of research, peer review is getting fuzzy, it is necessary to see who funded the research and who reviewed it.
  • Research now requires funds and people look at their research that doesn’t pan out and say I’m not going to publish that and they just keep going on what did pan out.
  • It’s important for people to recognize confirmation bias to realize that there are alternatives and that’s so critical in a global society for collaboration, expansion of knowledge and creativity.
  • I tell educators, parents, business people, if something works and neuroscience says it doesn’t or it says that’s wrong don’t give it up, if it’s desirable and it’s effective keep doing what you’ve been doing.

Learners need to be experienced, educated and feel powerful evaluating data.

  • Don’t literally take any neuroscience research and apply it, because neuroscience research outcomes only apply to the lab.
  • You cannot draw conclusions from one application of neuroscience research to your classroom or your business, what it does, it can confirm what you are doing and profoundly increase your success at tackling what you know works and learning how it works.
  • I was once asked to say what would be best for children who will never be in a classroom, and after a lot of thought it was that when they asked a question, respond by saying what do you think? And/or when they respond, asking them what else? Those two things what do you think? When they ask me what else? Those are really critical questions.
  • Now with tensor imaging where we don’t just see the active sections of the brain but we see the circuits and connections. What we have seen from that is that the more ways we get to evaluate and experience information, causes these cross connections.
  • When musicians are asked to improvise a new piece so you see the usual brain activity in the motor or sensory areas, but moments before they actually play their improvised piece you see the brain having so many cross connections, multi-sensories between hemispheres.

Learning is an important transition and it requires a foundational knowledge and flexibility to other perspectives.

  • You need a foundation, you can’t just dive off the diving board and expect to make a perfect dive.
  • Doing research in Tibet at a monastery, she found the more people meditated the more powerfully they can get into the mental state of analysis, not just creativity but also analysis and evaluation.
  • There is no perfection if you are trying to reach perfection.
  • Einstein said that if you can’t explain something simply you don’t understand it.

Wish: Be flexible, do not invite the learner to give THE answer. The phrase THE answer should be eliminated from education and life.


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