Thursday, February 11, 2016

Don't be a sea squirt

Well, we're back in the land of seizures and questions about medicines and not a lot of sleep. R. this time, not H., thankfully. (I'll have a really interesting seizure post relating to H. once I can finally finish my phone tag game with Lurie Children's Hospital and find a new neurologist I can work with.) Anyway, this is the first time we've really witnessed first hand R.'s particular seizures and since they seem to involve sleeplessness, we're tired. (The analytical side of my brain is finding it highly interesting. The emotional side of my brain just wants to go and find a hotel room.) I have to give real credit to my children here at home who seem to take the current medical crisis du jour in stride. They are interested in what is going on, are patient with the patient, and are also completely nonplussed by odd behavior.

So once again, I will have to rely on someone else's writing to entertain my audience. I've been working my way through The Body Knows its Mind: the surprising power of the physical environment to influence how you think and feel by Sian Beilock. It's had some really interesting things about how our bodies influence our emotions and thinking. (It's also had some parts where I find myself arguing and thinking, "Wow, this sounds like a really sketchy conclusion," but that adds to the fun, don't you think?) The part about the use of Botox to help with depression was really interesting. It seems to work because if you can't frown, your brain assumes you are not unhappy. It's kind of weird and wonderful.

Since I like to think about education, I thought I would share this bit with you. First you have to learn about the sea squirt. It makes sense, I promise.

"The sea squirt starts off its life cycle as a tadpole-like creature, complete with a spinal cord connected to a simple eye and a tail for swimming. It also has a primitive brain that helps it locomote through the water. Its mobility, however, doesn't last long. Once the sea squirt finds a suitable place to attach itself, whether the hull of a boat, an underwater rock, or the ocean floor, it never moves again. As soon as sea squirts stop moving, their brain is absorbed by their body. Being permanently attached to a home makes the sea squirt's spinal cord and the neurons that control locomotion superfluous, so why keep them?" (p. 47)

Now read this about current educational practices.

"Probably more than any other institution, Western mainstream education embraces the computer metaphor of the mind. Even though the information we take in comes from five different senses -- visual, aural, smell, taste, and touch -- educators tend to characterize the storage of this information as abstract, removed from the very senses that helped load the mind's hard drive in the first place. Lesson plans seem to be designed with the adult sea squirt in mind, as if the body in unnecessary, with students permanently affixed to their desks. Physical objects such as blocks, which help teach children about math concepts, are scarce, and even fewer objects are used to help teach reading. Students are becoming more confined than ever to their chairs." (p. 49)

There's your visual take-home image for the day. Do not treat your children as though they are sea squirts. There's more to life... and education... than workbooks done in a chair at a desk.

No comments:

Related Posts with Thumbnails
Pin It