Thursday, May 23, 2013

Schools Must Allow More Time for the Brain to
Wander and Wonder”

(Part 1)

Approximately 30% of our waking hours are devoted to time where our minds make a sudden shift from "concentrate" to “wander and wonder."

Scientists have estimated that 99.99% of the species that have ever lived on planet Earth have gone extinct. An extensive list of natural causes posed insurmountable environmental hazards, leading to their demise. Human beings, on the other hand, not only learned how to solve problems, but we became the only animal on the planet that looks for problems, that invents “practice problems” to solve (imaginary problems in a carefully controlled environment called “school”), and even anticipated means by which we can solve future problems.

With an ability to think with high degrees of flexibility (“imagine”) and with the development of an increasingly robust repertoire of problem-solving strategies, human beings evolved as the only species that could run away from a problem, swim away from a problem, climb away from a problem, talk our way out of a problem, and design solutions to our problems. Mastering a broad range of possible solutions promoted the survival of our species. What, one might ask, constitutes the most effective educational path to creativity, inventiveness and innovation?

Our current global challenges require that we develop well-trained creative minds that will craft novel strategies and innovative solutions to those problems and challenges. Spawning new inventions to sustain the worldwide economies translates into developing fine-tuned young minds from Kindergarten through graduate school.

We can facilitate visual spatial thinking, as well as general learning, by guiding the creative brain process of making neural connections. As young learners build on their experiences, the brain moves easiest from simple concrete experiences to increasingly more complex levels of abstractions and abstract thinking.

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