Friday 19 October 2012

How Our Brains Work

Why should we teach children how the brain works? It interests them. Why wouldn’t it? The brain is mysterious and intriguing to even us adults. Teaching children about how their brain works helps promote metacognition and helps them feel more in control of themselves and their learning.

The purpose of this first MindUp lesson is to teach children about the three parts of their brain that help them think and respond to stress. Most importantly it will help them begin to understand that they may not be able to choose what happens to them but they can choose how they respond to what happens. Ultimately, the MindUp curriculum aims to teach children to monitor and regulate their behavior by calming themselves rather than becoming anxious and focusing their attention so that they can take more responsibility for their learning.

The first lesson focuses on teaching children about three parts of the brain.  Buried deep inside is the amygdala, our security guard, which helps protect us. Not so deep and on either side of our head behind our ears is the hippocampus, our memory saver, which helps us learn and remember. At the top and front of our head is our prefrontal cortex, our wise leader, which helps us make good decisions. Below is a video of me giving this lesson to the Wix-Brown staff.

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