Live Wires: Reflections on Brain Research and its Implications for Parenting/Education

Aside

Live Wires: Neuro-Parenting to Ignite Your Teen’s Brain by Judith Widener Muir 

“Neuro-parenting: Parenting strategies based on neuroscience research which conforms that the brain wires what it experiences – for good or bad”

On Friday at my school’s in service program, Judy Muir presented on brain research and its relevance for education. It was a wonderfully engaging and inspiring 90 minutes, at the end of which she gave us all a copy of her book. Having devoured the Lives Wires over the weekend, I am left pondering the following: 

  • If learning can only happen in meaningful relationships, then how can we, as educators, provide a learning environment in which these relationships are fostered and not denied?
  • In the current climate of high stakes testing, the college admissions arms race, and increasing student stress levels, how can schools facilitate wellness – a holistic approach to healthy thoughts, habits, and behaviors?
  • Our children’s brains are not buckets to be filled – a metaphor I have never particularly liked. Rather, the brain reconfigures itself throughout life experience. We “use it or lose it” in regards to the connections we make when we undertake new experiences. How do we build curricula that enables students to increase their neuroplasticity whilst maintaining some notion of the “school” model?
  • Are our students getting enough sleep? Teens are supposed to get 9 hours per night; many high school students get between 4 and 6.
  • How do we embrace the “gamer” generation, many of whom will log 10,000 hours of screen time by the time they graduate from high school?
  • Truly, what is the “right” college for a student? How do we get away from the idea that there are only 50 or so (of the 3,000) institutions of higher learning that are valuable?

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