Saturday, August 11, 2018

My Reading Thoughts, Summaries and Connections: The Social Animal by David Brooks - Chapter 6 Part 1 (Learning)

This chapter is framed around Harold's senior year in high school. The content in the chapter is a bit overwhelming jumping from the social structures in high school to the adolescent brain to contemplating what learning is and stepping the reader through the steps of a discovery project. I wasn't sure how to organize it all and in the end I decided to do a summary but keep the idea of doing a second post on this chapter sometime in the future open. I would like to dig a bit more into all the inforamtion that was presented as the author stepped throught he project that Harold completed. I also feel that I need a bit of time to let that part of it marinate because it speaks to the kind of learning that I don't remember ever experiencing in school although I have experienced it many times since. I found myself thinking about and connecting into concepts related to the "Deeper Learning" movement a lot.

Another thing that jumped out in the explanation of the process was the amount of time that was used to gather and interact with information before moving on to a final product. I was fascinated with the idea of taking the time for the conscious and unconscious components to come together. In many ways, it reminded me of the process we went through in the Self-Reg Foundations course. There was thinking and learning happening throughout at the conscious level but there was also all this stuff happening below the surface at an unconscious level. As we carried through the program some of that unconscious stuff started to come up and connect to the conscious. We talked a lot about an "embodied" understanding.

Which brings me to the final insight about this chapter (for now) and that was that the personal component of the project that Harold did. Knowing a bit about how the brian works the making connection with the content part makes sense to me as it reflects the building of neural connections. It was great to see that the end goal though was not just to connect all the various pieces of informatin but but also connect to them to one's own life. That, to me, seems to be the piece that then leads to the statement that the learning experience ends up changing all future perceptions of the world. The idea makes me question even more what the purpose of education should be.

Below I have included the visuals of what jumped out at me while reading this chapter. I feel that I will, at some point in the future, come back and do a second post on this chapter but for now I'm going to move forward. Clicking on each graphic should make it larger and easier to see.

In closing to this post, I want to add a couple of thoughts about "imitation". The line "much of learning is throuh imitation" really jumped out at me while I read this chapter. All of the books that I have chosen to either go back to and re-read or read for the first time have a theme tied to what happens consciously and unconsciously in our brains. Imitation is one of those things that happens unconsciously a large portion of the time. It seems particularly when the imatition is tied to something that we view as a "negative behaviour". I see this often in how accepted an individual will be in any given setting. When the adults embrace that student for who they are and just seem to naturaly modify the environment to ensure everyone is actively involved you see the children doing the same. We often look for ways to teach to the cognitive part of the brain through "direct instruction" and although this is important, it seems it can be counter-productive if our actions are teaching the opposite. It seems to me that the old saying "actions speak louder than words" is so important and tied to this idea of our conscious and unconscious brains. So I end this with a great graphic that I recently stumbled across... 

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