BRAIN AND BEHAVIOR INSTITUTE 2003

Forum 3 - Thoughts After the First Day


Name:  Paul Grobstein
Username:  pgrobste@brynmawr.edu
Subject:  reflections on our first day together
Date:  2003-07-08 07:40:13
Message Id:  5846
Comments:
Very rich, lots of stuff, lots of good conversation/story-sharing. Thanks all. A couple of things that stuck in my mind ...

A general issue was do we accept that idea that the brain is an explorer, that our business as educators is to "open minds" (or help keep them open, make them ever more open) and, if we do, what do we do with/about curriculum standards/grades/testing?

A related issue was is the potential of us/our students "limitless"? Or is it instead the case that the potential of individual humans is infinite but limited in various ways? And a second related issue was what do we do if we have a story that seems to work (ignoring a few "outliers") and has for many years ... keep it or try to change it? Why? For ourselves, for our students?

I also want to keep in play the idea of "two minds". That may not seem immediately related to all of the above but I think it is, in important ways.

Anyhow, that's some of what yesterday made me think about, want to think more about. What about you? Jot down a few lines about what yesterday made you think about ... so we can see where everyone is before we get started on new stuff this morning. If you need memory jogging, we talked yesterday about science and what it is, about everything being in the brain, about differences in brains, and about a replacement for the "spaghetti" model of the brain. What did any (or all) of that make you think/wonder?


Name:  Paul Grobstein
Username:  pgrobste@brynmawr.edu
Subject:  related material
Date:  2003-07-08 07:52:47
Message Id:  5847
Comments:
Some interesting stuff in the New York Times Science Times section this morning.

On diversity: Opposites Attract? Not in Real Life

On reading and the brain: Two Kinds of Brain Problems are Found To Cause Dyslexia

On another "practical" brain/behavior identity issue: Doctor's Toughest Diagnosis: Own Mental Health


Name:  Angela M. Grant
Username:  ajgrants@earthlink.net
Subject:  Reflections
Date:  2003-07-08 09:28:29
Message Id:  5848
Comments:
I enjoyed yesterday's lecture in regards to the brain and the impact that it has on our thoughts, feelings, actions, and beliefs. I thought that I would not be into the lesson due to not feeling well. Even though I did not get much sleep within the past several days, I feel eager to gain more insights as to what is in store for the rest of the day. Had I been at my "regular" job, I might be dragging and feeling like I can't do this today. The brain has always fascinated me and I am looking forward to going on the web in order to delve into the matter further.

Imagine living during the 1850's and thinking about the brain. Emily Dickinson was a remarkable woman not only in terms of her writing but the things that she thought about. The average woman was not into matters of that nature (it wasn't her place.)


Name:  Paul Grobstein
Username:  pgrobste@brynmawr.edu
Subject:  addendum
Date:  2003-07-08 09:29:08
Message Id:  5850
Comments:
Forgot about "purpose", personal and educational. How ABOUT this idea that "purpose" is exploration?
Name:  Sheila
Username:  Anonymous
Subject:  the BRAIN
Date:  2003-07-08 09:29:27
Message Id:  5851
Comments:
As I viewed the nervouse system and the spinal column with the four lumpy section I wondered if any imperfections--in any one area would cause defects in the brain or alter brain activity? I notice the medulla and forebrain were small numbered sections, also the diecanphaelon sections were divided differently..why?
Name:  W. Keith Sgrillo
Username:  wsgrillo@hotmail.com
Subject:  reflection on 7/7/03
Date:  2003-07-08 09:31:47
Message Id:  5852
Comments:
Due to the discussion on Monday, there were several things that came to mind and made me think about the importance of the physical brain and the mental aspects of the brain. How important is one to the other.
I began thinking about my cusin who had 1/3 of her brain removed from cancer. Although she does not function at the level of what we would call a "normal 25 year old," she is still able to retain new information, recall and reflect on previous experiences, and understand and create new meaning from concepts. This began to make me think about limits and who and how they are applied.

I began to think about other aspects of the brain and its functions as I was reflecting and discussing some of the theories of Steven Hawking with a friend. The level of thought and the ability that he has to create his own reality is, in my mind, astonishing. In many cases, some of his theories go beyond what we would think of as rational thought. I began to entertain the notion that science does not prove nor disprove anything.

I also began to think about people we term as psychic. One in particular that I always found facinating was the "sleeping psychic" Casey. I began to wonder if there are other aspects of the brain that allow a different model for thinking and summarizing observations. If so, what are the differences and how would it be possible to explore those differences.


Name:  
Username:  Anonymous
Subject:  tues AM linda m
Date:  2003-07-08 09:32:38
Message Id:  5853
Comments:
re yesterday's discussions of the limitations or not of the brain
While I think my brain/nervous system has limitations (now that I'm over 50, my eyes see colors differently, due to my rods, or is it my cones?, nevertheless I have no control over how my eyes perceive warm and cool colors so I consider that an example of a limitation), I do like the notion that there are still infinite directions in which I can continue to grow and explore.

When I was a kid I thought that when I grew up I would know everything; now I am glad there is so much left for me to behold because I intend to live for a long time and it could get pretty boring were there nothing left to experience anew.


Name:  
Username:  Anonymous
Subject:  tues AM linda m
Date:  2003-07-08 09:33:02
Message Id:  5854
Comments:
re yesterday's discussions of the limitations or not of the brain
While I think my brain/nervous system has limitations (now that I'm over 50, my eyes see colors differently, due to my rods, or is it my cones?, nevertheless I have no control over how my eyes perceive warm and cool colors so I consider that an example of a limitation), I do like the notion that there are still infinite directions in which I can continue to grow and explore.

When I was a kid I thought that when I grew up I would know everything; now I am glad there is so much left for me to behold because I intend to live for a long time and it could get pretty boring were there nothing left to experience anew.


Name:  Nia Turner
Username:  nturner@brynmawr.edu
Subject:  Reflections
Date:  2003-07-08 09:34:07
Message Id:  5855
Comments:
I learned alot from the discussion and observing the teachers interact. I really enjoyed the icebreaker, and I think it is an effective way for the teachers to get to know one another better. Although, the lesson portion is familiar to me because I had taken the course this past semester it seems I understand the concepts of brain interactions better after yesterday's lecture. I also appreciated the stories the teachers shared about their classroom experiences.
Name:  Shellie Herdan
Username:  Anonymous
Subject:  Yesterday-day one
Date:  2003-07-08 09:35:49
Message Id:  5856
Comments:
This is hard I seemed to be blocking. All I know is that the discussion of yesterday started a lot of sparks--I have many questions. I t would be great to get some answers--tell us about the brains of men and women-boys and girls, how does this affect teaching, two brains-four brains--or do we have one brain, . Just keep the questions coming--and the answers(not truths--almost).

It is funny--I feel excited about these questions. I guess that is are hope--to excite our students with questions and the need to find answers. Is this a possibility.


Name:  Lois
Username:  loismackey@yahoo.com
Subject:  An Educator Interest About Student's on Medication
Date:  2003-07-08 09:37:57
Message Id:  5857
Comments:
When I went home and reflected on yesterday's session, my interest went to that of the many students that we have in our classrooms on various types of medication( drendalin being one of them, oops! spelling may be incorrect). This medication is suppose to help them calm down (questionable), and get focus. My interest is, what role does this medication play on the brain, and its long and short term effects.
Name:  CAROL
Username:  JTTYSON@COMCAST.NET
Subject:  MONDAYS SESSION
Date:  2003-07-08 09:38:06
Message Id:  5858
Comments:
THE SCIENTIFIC METHOD THAT WAS DISCUSSED IS THE ONE THAT IS ENCOURAGED FOR USE IN OUR CLASSES.CONTINUOUS EXPLORATION IS VIABLE IN CLASS SIZES OF TWENTY OR LESS. I OFTEN OBSERVE "BEST PRACTICES'BEING USED IN MY SCHOOL ,BUT IT IS EXTREMELY DIFFICULT FOR EVERY LESSON THROUOUT THE DAY IN LARGE CLASSES.ALSO,WHAT ACCOMODATIONS CAN BE MADE FOR TWO OR THREE STUDENTS THAT EXHIBIT "DIFFERENT"BRAINS WHEN THIRTY-THREE ARE IN A CLASS?!
Name:  Mo
Username:  Anonymous
Subject:  First Day
Date:  2003-07-08 09:39:13
Message Id:  5859
Comments:
On Monday I learned that my entire school teaches the scientific method incorrectly. What a new observation! Teachers should be viewing science as exploration. There is no truth in science only less wrong answers. Science is a continuing looping process with no end. We become scientist at birth.

I wonder what Paul has up his sleeve today!


Name:  John Dalton
Username:  JD5258875@aol.com
Subject:  Response to Paul
Date:  2003-07-08 09:39:42
Message Id:  5860
Comments:
I agree that our business as educators is to "open minds" (or help keep them open, make them ever more open. But, I don't feel that this is necessarily opposed to curriculum standards/grades/testing? I do agreee that it is difficult, and made even more so by unreal expectations from the people who try to standarize curriculums with unreal expectations of their clientele.

I prefer positing that the potential of individual humans is infinite but limited in various ways? This also relates to the unreal expectations that have been foisted upon curriculums from outside the schools, for instance, assuming that everyone should have rigorous algebra, but not allowing any leeway for students. With your second related issue of what do we do if we have a story that seems to work (ignoring a few "outliers") and has for many years ... keep it or try to change it, I don't believe that a conservative approach is necessarily wrong. After thirty five years of constant curricular change for what seems to be the sake of change, initiated by some new educational perspective, I've become wary of educational revolutions frequently engendered from the university level or in response to political agendas.

The notion of "two minds" that emerged in Dickinson's poem was interesting. One was clearly the individual, the other participated in what may be designated as the "All". It's a nice Romantic conceit that's not too unlike Jung's "collective unconscious." It seems somewhat of a religious leap of faith to therefore assume man's perfectibliity. it's rather a naive flaunting of determinism.


Name:  Antoinette
Username:  Anonymous
Subject:  Yesterday
Date:  2003-07-08 09:40:10
Message Id:  5861
Comments:
Yesterday's discussion reminded me of my first day in the classroom. Many of the things that I thought I had an understanding were challenged and I experienced a paradigm shift (to use the Covey term). Understanding how the brian works and how learning \behavior actually causes changes in the brain is encouraging. As knowing that certain parts of the brain are stimulated during reading, listening to music, and exposure to art actually changes the brain, then so too does good or bad teaching methodology.
Name:  Julie Leavitt
Username:  Anonymous
Subject:  Yesterday's Class
Date:  2003-07-08 09:40:15
Message Id:  5862
Comments:
After yesterday's class I somehow feel like I'm of "ten minds" all going in different directions simultaneously. when thinking about the "spaghetti model" of the brain it brought to mind conversations with parents of kids with learning disabilities. Often the question Why? came up. And I would use the primitive comparison of the brain being like a TV set with a million wires that have to be connected and sometimes they're connected "wrong" and sometimes they're not connected at all. We all have a few "wrong connections". I don't think this was a scientifically correct explanation, but it helped toassuage the fears that their kids will never be successful.
Name:  Miss Geneva E. Tolliferreo, M.
Username:  Anonymous
Subject:  7-7-03 Reflections
Date:  2003-07-08 09:41:10
Message Id:  5863
Comments:
Good Morning to all!
Yesterday yeilded interesting comments which mirrors our personal and professional diversity. Open forums, in a constructive manner such as this, are useful in assisting us in realizing the views of others, as well as, respecting reasons of why our jobs get done, even though we may all be doing it differently. In other words, students are learning with open minds and success stories occur more often than Educators get credit for.
Name:  Pam
Username:  Anonymous
Subject:  Brain
Date:  2003-07-08 09:50:25
Message Id:  5864
Comments:
In reflection of yesterday's session , I think the issue of providing effective instruction to the learner based on the notion that science has to seek no truth or continue with trying to reach school district designed goals. I think it was refreshing to know that most educators struggle with the same pressures.

I think the aspect of the session based on the several models of the brain provide a basic comprehensive comparison of organism formations. The models demonstrated that despite several unrelated biological characteristics featured by organisms, the basic building blocks are the same. However, the size of the region locations were different.


Name:  Julie Leavitt
Username:  Anonymous
Subject:  Yesterday's Class
Date:  2003-07-08 10:48:17
Message Id:  5865
Comments:
After yesterday's class I somehow feel like I'm of "ten minds" all going in different directions simultaneously. when thinking about the "spaghetti model" of the brain it brought to mind conversations with parents of kids with learning disabilities. Often the question Why? came up. And I would use the primitive comparison of the brain being like a TV set with a million wires that have to be connected and sometimes they're connected "wrong" and sometimes they're not connected at all. We all have a few "wrong connections". I don't think this was a scientifically correct explanation, but it helped toassuage the fears that their kids will never be successful.


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