Saturday, August 4, 2018

My Reading Thoughts, Summaries and Connections: The Social Animal by David Brooks - Chapter 3 (Mindsight)

As mentioned at the end of my last post, I am jumping up to Chapter 3 for this next post. In Chapter 3, one of the main characters, Harold, is introduced. The chapter covers information from conception through to his first months of life and examines how the brain is formed throught these times.

I have chosen the books on my list with the intention of looking at them through the Self-Reg lens. For several years now I have been on a journey to learn more about Self-Reg. At first the quest was tied to wanting to find an anwer to "behaviour management" but as time has gone on it has become about concepts so much larger - healthy development, human flourishing, creating an unconscious sense of safety, reducing barriers to learning through disarming the fear response, nurturing relationships, individual and collective resilience...etc. I believed when I started to dig that the digging would be finite; That at the end of it all I would have a neat cognitive package. Instead I discovered that there was so much that was happening under the surface of our consciousness. It connected to the part of me that has always been a problem solver; The part of me that has always wanted to dig down one layer deeper on the question of why.

As I read through this chapter, I was reminded again and again of the beginning of the Self-Reg Foundations Course and learning about secondary altriciality and the inter-brain.

Secondary altriciality in its most simplified explanation simply means that when a baby is born their brain is not fully developed. This equates to our babies being born completely dependent on others... really "fetuses outside of the womb". Because so little of the brain is developed a birth, it continues to develop beyond birth and how it develops is dependent upon the child-caregiver relationship. This chapter addesses some of what is critical to healthy brain development and although it doesn't directly reference the development of regulatory skills, it hints at it often. The chapter also references the many of the sensory experiences but does not step in to the process of the sensory systems integrating. Perhaps this will come up in the next chapter?

In reference to the inter-brain, because the baby's born is so underdeveloped in the first months of his/her life, the baby relies on the primary care-giver to serve as an external brain that will help to regulate the baby's physiological state. This chapter discusses a lot of the mechanisms that serve to connect the parent to the baby but doesn't reference much the attunement so the parent is able to read their baby's cues and help to regulate them until their brain develops the ability to self-regulate. It's interesting the interplay between it all - the baby being born with what it needs to draw the connection, the parent serving as an external brain, the caregivers shaping the baby's brain, the caregiver's brains changing themselves in response to the new relationship with the baby. It speaks to how deeply connected we all are and how our brains really do not function in isolation. It speaks to how every interaction serves to change our brain ever so slighting and then potentially drastically over time in relationship with someone.

From the teaching perspective, this chapter highlights several of the "roots of cognition". I am including a visual that I made some time ago when reading The Learning Tree by Dr. Stanley Greenspan here as this chapter triggered that connection for me. The idea of behind the learning tree is that often the challenges we see students having in education (those that are within the branches and leaves of the trees) are connected to something that needs to be strengthened either at the roots or up the trunk of the stem. The trunk of the stem represents the social-emotional learning continuum that is references in Floortime. I found the model helpful in that it makes you stop and think below the surface of what you are seeing. From working with students who often experirence bariers to learning it has me thinking about what happens when those roots are not fully developed and about how to ensure that we continue to work on the ones that may need more attention.

From time to time I might link to another book or lecture. If I do this visually, I will include a link picture like the one on the visual above. Below I have included the visuals of my what jumped out at me while reading this chapter. Clicking on each graphic should make it larger and easier to see. 

... And just because this video is too cute I'm going to include here in connection to the last information on in this chapter around how laughter is a comoponent of connecting as well as something that often comes forward in pattern finding moments. Enjoy!

No comments:

Post a Comment