For many years, I have made an analogy that I will share with you now. Five centuries ago, almost all people spent their whole life within a small radius of where they were born. However, there were a few brave souls who wanted to see if more was out there and set off to discover new lands. Fast forward 400+ years and we see humankind wanting to challenge the obstacles, launch into outer space, and land on the moon. I have hope that we will see someone in my lifetime walk on Mars. However, there is one foreign territory that is the New World of our time and that is the human brain.
I am a very amateur student of the human brain. When I see an article (particularly if it relates to teaching and learning) I try to read it. While there is still a universe of the unknown for neuroscientists to explore, we have learned a great deal, most of which has been discovered in the last three decades. We have learned that one part of the brain perceives things (the cerebrum) while other parts of the brain provides storage for these perceptions (shared between the hippocampus and cerebral cortex). More importantly to those at Norman Howard, we have slowly taken what we have learned and made them relevant to supporting students with learning disabilities.
Last year, Ms. Hodges and Ms. Rader attended a conference on the brain and memory. They returned to Rochester raving about one of the speakers, Andrew Watson. Shortly after, Ms. Coates and Ms. Ryan heard him speak and were equally impressed. They insisted that he would be a valuable resource for our entire community to learn from. I could not agree more and for this reason, we are bringing him to Rochester to speak to our students, faculty, parents, and the public at large.
If you sample any of Mr. Watson’s work, you will quickly see that it is not dealing with complex brain science. It is simply taking what we do know and orienting it to how students best learn. I think you will find him very open and easy to understand. He will be speaking to our parents and anyone else who is interested on the evening of Thursday, October 5th at 6:30 p.m. at Norman Howard. We hope that you will join us. More information: http://bit.ly/2fyiCcd | RSVP by October 3rd - (585) 210-4721 or firstname.lastname@example.org
I will not attempt to preview Mr. Watson’s work more than to say he places a focus on attention and memory. Like the world and space explorer before him, he has taken a rough map of what we understand of the “New World” above our shoulders and between our ears and begun to add some detail so we know which way we are going. I hope to see many of you there!