“I think educators ought to be interested in the brain: Matthew E. McLaren

“I think educators ought to be interested in the brain because they teach brains. If you are an instructor, you have about 30 of them in your room, and I can’t imagine somebody who would teach a room full of brains and wouldn’t be interested in brains. The new development is helping us to understand the teaching and learning process in ways we couldn’t have imagined before this… If you are involved in the development and maintenance of a brain, you need a knowledge that is more than folklore knowledge”. Robert Sylwester, (1997)
I am fascinated with the human brain because it is important to our success or failures in life. There are regions within the brain that work as the center of control of, behavior and learning. In the oil sand industry control and behavior are factors that are essential for controlling are eliminating hazardous conditions. Anatomy and philosophy teach that we have over 100 billion neurons in our brain; each of these neurons has between 5,000 and 50,000 connections to other neurons which would suggest that within the brain’s cerebral cortex there is over one quadrillion neuron connection or network of neurons, communicating and providing biological information that is the key to healthy living.

Our frontal lobe is located within the cerebral cortex and gives us the ability to think reason and make intelligent decisions as we plan our daily activities. Our lifestyles practices can indeed affect our temperament, our ability to focus, provide emotional stability and activate our mental alertness, eliminate negative thoughts that could complicate our abilities, be productive, and dictate the process of our working and learning ability.
Let me take you on a biological tour of the brain to explain why our success in the oil sand depends on a healthy mind and body…

Researchers have now believed the cerebral cortex has the ability to generate new brain cells in the area known as the “Hippocampus”…. The cerebral cortex actually expenses as we develop over time from toddler to adult… By understanding the functions of our brain, we can improve our performance at home and at work, develop better social skills as we interact with other people, be more responsible and productive members of our working community and society. Most of our problem in our world is caused by negative thinking and behavior that defeats our ability to take control of our physical and mental skills…
Do you know that our entire brain weighs between 2 and 4 pounds, and made up of nearly 60% fat, and requires 25% of the energy supplied to our mind-body? The 25% energy allows the brain to perform at its optimum capacity as we navigate the complex terrains of life.

Millions of brain cells function in our Cortex to relay information electrically and chemically and result in our ability to think move, experience challenging, and competitive new ideas, which allows us to express our emotion which directs our attention. Our cortex is the most sophisticated part of our brain given to us, by our Creator; it gives us the ability to think and makes intelligent decisions. Our brain has two distinct regions known as the right and left hemispheres, and there are two lobes for each region. Each of the lobes is related to distinct behaviors, and there are regions of the brain where overlapping responsibilities occur, these areas are referred to as “association areas. Our frontal lobe is the largest of the entire lobes; sitting just behind our forehead. It is about 33-38% of the brain’s capacity. The frontal is what causes human to be different from the animal kingdom and allow us to perform at a higher level. Our lobes are highly complex and specialized and are designed to help with the control of many different and important skills and the ability to succeed in technical training that is related to the oil sand industry.

These lobes include the occipital lobe and parietal lobe which process visual stimuli that control sensory organs, the temporal lobes, which process auditory stimuli; parietal lobes where interpretation and integration of sensory stimuli occur. Just behind the forehead are the frontal lobes where a higher level of thinking, problem-solving, and planning for the future occurs. Somewhere within the entire cerebral cortex lies our ability to be consciously aware of what we are thinking and doing, complex activities that can lead to health and wealth… Within the cerebral cortex are other structures such as the amygdala, the hippocampus, and the thalamus. They are involved in the processing of emotion and memory. The building blocks of our body are cells. The brain has two different kinds of cells: nerve cells, or (neurons), and glial cells. Glial cells which greatly outnumber neurons, during development and structure; assist in providing the nutrients for the neuron. Our neurons process information; we can’t grow new neurons, but we can grow new connections between neurons, and these connections create learning and memory…

Each nerve cell talks to each other, “so to speak”, they act as a relay station, receiving signals from other cells, processing the signals, and sending them to other cells across tiny gaps called synapses. They produce chemicals called neurotransmitters (neuro) meaning mind, (transmit) meaning sent. The neurotransmitter is produced in the cell body terminals and stored in little sacks down in the axon terminals. When a neuron fires, an electrical impulse moves down the axon and stimulates those little sacks and chemicals to move to the surface, break open, and transmit their contents into the gap between the axon terminal and the dendrite of the neighboring cell.

The dendrites have few receptor sites, designed specifically for a particular neurotransmitter. What’s most fascinating is how we experience emotions and how we feel; is dictated by certain neurotransmitters. Some transmitters transmit thoughts in a positive happy feeling; some transmit in a relaxed calm mood; some in a highly motivated state of mind. It could be serotonin, dopamine, or any of 60 to 100 neurotransmitters that the brain produces. These chemicals fit into the receptor sites the way a key fits a lock. This process causes a new reaction in the receiving dendrite, which then sends a message down that cell’s axon and starts the whole process over again. At that point, the brain takes the neurotransmitter back up through re-uptake channels in the sending neuron and uses it over again and again to provide a continuous circulatory flow; the same way our digestive and circulatory systems function.

The brain is so uniquely designed and equipped; it knows how many chemicals to make, what kind of a chemical to make, how much to let out, how long to leave it there, and what to do when it’s through. Researchers now understand that the electrochemical process is the basis of all human behavior. Every thought we think, every move we make, and every word we say is based in the electrical and chemical communication between neurons. The types of transmitters change regularly between cells to meet the needs of our current circumstances. At night, to induce sleep the brain raises it level so certain thoughts can be transmitted in a calm atmosphere for us to sleep well. In the morning brain lower its levels of the calming transmitters and raise the excitatory transmitter’s levels to satisfy the need of our environmental conditions, such as our classroom environment…

Marian Diamond says that our challenge in education is to determine what makes an enriched classroom environment. We’re probably going to find that it’s the interaction of the student’s mind with the materials, the attention, retention, simulation, and all the things that good teachers and learners can accomplish to make learning meaningful so that learners will sprout new dendrites, which form new connections and become strong through review. When two neurons fire together in proper sequence, they become more efficient and fire more readily; our long-term memory is developed. The important thing that we’ve learned is that repetition helps memory. Teachers should know that it’s all right to say something once and then turn it around and say the same thing in another way, the use of repetition.
Researchers believe that the window of opportunity for learning is greater at an early age. However because the human mind is designed with flexibility, there is a continuous process throughout our life span for learning; the window of opportunity never closed.

One of the important things to understand as educators, repetition stimulates retention and memory and is registered in the neurological pathway of our luring cycle. When we say or do something once and repeat it again by using different methods, we are strengthening the plasticity of our neurological pathways that lead to new knowledge and creative learning ability and allow us to perform at our highest level.
Robert SylwesterIt: suggest that the best time to master a skill associated with a system is just when a new system is coming on line in your brain. He cited language as a good example. He suggested that it’s very easy for a 2- or 3- year-old to learn any language. But if that person waits until 18 or 30, learning a new language will be more difficult because the systems governing this ability have been used for something else. Many skills, like learning to play a musical instrument or developing unique and skillful motor skills, are best done as early as possible. Fortunately for us, human’s live long life which allows us long windows of opportunity. It’s possible to learn how to play a musical instrument quite late in life; our basic need is positive motivation.

It is professionally produced for employers to have a broader understanding of what makes workers who they are, and how they can use that knowledge to interact and connect more effectively in the training and learning process that are relevant in the construction industry. There are some principles that drive learning and motivate individuals to be willing to make changes safe and productive in the working community. Every human being is driven to search for new meaning, new adventures that lead to their goal and objective… Most of our inventors mirror patterns from the environment, and learn through interaction with others; to be successful in life we need to cooperate in our effort and skill in the development and building of infrastructures… Therefore it’s important to build authentic relationships with like-minded people whose vision extends beyond all boundaries; we defeat our ability to succeed by setting limitations.

Our success enhanced difficult challenges which multiply life experiences and provide a gateway to health and wealth. All workers should seek to engage their minds with essential factors, values, and interests that stimulate their attention and elevate their attitude and behavior as they navigate life most challenging pathway. Our ability to think and feel are interconnected because our patterning of life is emotionally guided by our perception of who we are and what we are capable to achieve, our gold in life is unlimited when we make God the guiding source of our life. Seek ye first the kingdom of God and all these things will be added unto you…This means that we need to help others develop a relationship that will enhance a lifestyle that is productive and valuable to their family, their working environment their community. In addition, they will develop an intellectual knowledge and understanding of what are the most important formulas needed in their life experience to achieving health and wealth.

Once workers grasp the concept, of their thinking ability, they will begin to function differently in their work and in their community. There are some formulas that provide a balanced lifestyle and enhance our success of health and wealth. The most exciting discovery on brain research is that it is profitable mentally, physically, spiritually, and emotionally for everyone to be successful in their journey of life; it’s imperative that our learning process continues for a lifetime when the learning process stops our brain does not get enough exercise and our ability to think and process information slows down…

To summarize, I truly believe that our luring ability is stimulated by the concepts of individuals working together as a team will develop safety standards to contain are eliminate hazardous conditions that are challenging and provides new paradigms of thinking that will be productive for the oil sand industry… This basic understanding of our Brain will help us understand how brilliant our brains are and why it is imperative that we care for it and support it with brain foods that will nurture it over our lifespan. Brain Health is an ongoing process. Our goal should be to engage it in quality thinking, learning exercises. Whosever a person thinks in his/her mind determines their character; think good thoughts and you will develop the ability to enhance your health and wealth. We are encouraged by physical instructors and nutrition consultants to exercise our body to keep healthy; we should do the same for our brain…

John Dewey “says that the most mature person in any social setting is the one who’s the most adaptable to other people’s needs. In many classrooms, 30 students are adapting to the teacher rather than the teacher adapting to them. A mature person ought to be able to go with the flow of a classroom.”

Understanding Neurotransmitters
Brain Chemistry
Journey into the Brain
Educational Leadership

Bible verses for today’s meditation and inspiration: Matthew E. McLaren

Psalm 145:18
18 The LORD is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth.
John 18:37-38
37 “You are a king, then!” said Pilate. Jesus answered, “You say that I am a king. In fact, the reason I was born and came into the world is to testify to the truth. Everyone on the side of truth listens to me.” 38 “What is truth?” retorted Pilate. With this he went out again to the Jews gathered there and said, “I find no basis for a charge against him.
John 8:31-32
31 To the Jews who had believed him, Jesus said, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. 32 Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”
Ephesians 1:13-14
13 And you also were included in Christ when you heard the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation. When you believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, 14 who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession—to the praise of his glory.
1 Corinthians 13:4-6
4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.

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