Friday, September 2, 2011

Brain Development and 21st Century Skill Development

In an excellent article, Dr. Judy Willis concisely explains the relationship between brain growth and the need for teachers to stimulate the brain in new, engaging, and realistic ways.

Some highlights:

  • The brain has plasticity. It grows and connections are strengthened and made more efficient with increased and varied approaches to the same material. 
  • The Prefontal Cortex houses the brain's higher order thinking neurons (as opposed to the amygdala, which is our basic fight or flight monitor). It is growing the most during our years in school.
  • We need to stimulate the Prefrontal Cortex through differentiated information manipulation (say that 3 times fast...) in order to develop 21st Century skills in our students.  
At Canterbury, we are working to enhance an already strong program to enable these approaches to instruction. Additionally, our teachers have undergone a significant amount of professional development, most recently in Developmental Designs Instructional Approaches, so that we are delivering lessons in a way that acknowledges the brain research of adolescents. It is anm integral part of our vision - Best Practices. 

Throughout this year, you will see lessons featured on this blog which highlight the ways in which our students are developing 21st Century Skills. Stay tuned!

Here is the link to the article:

Dr. Judy Willis: Improving Executive Function in Students

UPDATE: I found this really cool 3D Interactive Brain website from HealthLink. You can scroll around the brain and find out about each part, where it is, and what it does. Check it out:

The Brain

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