Brain Boosters

What is classical education? Different things to different people. Always helps to define terms.

Emotion is essential to learning, Dr. Immordino-Yang said, and should not be underestimated or misunderstood as a trend, or as merely the “E” in “SEL,” or social-emotional learning. Emotion is where learning begins, or, as is often the case, where it ends. Put simply, “It is literally neurobiologically impossible to think deeply about things that you don’t care about,” she said.”

Reminds one of:
Our aim in Education is to give a Full Life.––We begin to see what we want. Children make large demands upon us. We owe it to them to initiate an immense number of interests. Thou hast set my feet in a large room; should be the glad cry of every intelligent soul. Life should be all living, and not merely a tedious passing of time; not all doing or all feeling or all thinking––the strain would be too great––but, all living; that is to say, we should be in touch wherever we go, whatever we hear, whatever we see, with some manner of vital interest. We cannot give the children these interests; we prefer that they should never say they have learned botany or conchology, geology or astronomy. The question is not,––how much does the youth know? when he has finished his education––but how much does he care? and about how many orders of things does he care? In fact, how large is the room in which he finds his feet set? and, therefore, how full is the life he has before him? I know you may bring a horse to the water, but you cannot make him drink. What I complain of is that we do not bring our horse to the water. We give him miserable little text-books, mere compendiums of facts, which he is to learn off and say and produce at an examination; or we give him various knowledge in the form of warm diluents, prepared by his teacher with perhaps some grains of living thought to the gallon. And all the time we have books, books teeming with ideas fresh from the minds of thinkers upon every subject to which we can wish to introduce children.

We undervalue Children.––The fact is, we undervalue children. The notion that an infant is a huge oyster, who by slow degrees, and more and more, develops into that splendid intellectual and moral being, a full-grown man or woman, has been impressed upon us so much of late years that we believe intellectual spoon-meat to be the only food for what we are pleased to call ‘little minds.’ It is nothing to us that William Morris read his first Waverley Novel when he was four and had read the whole series by the time he was seven. He did not die of it, but lived and prospered; unlike that little Richard, son of John Evelyn, who died when he was five years and three days old, a thing not to be wondered at when we read that he had ‘a strong passion for Greek, could turn English into Latin and vice versa with the greatest ease,’ had ‘a wonderful disposition to Mathematics, having by heart divers propositions of Euclid’; but I quote little Richard (nobody could ever have called him Dick) by way of warning and not of example.”

“Shakespeare-and-Wordsworth-boost-the-brain Reading challenging works by the greatest writers in the English language such as Shakespeare’s King Lear and Philip Larkin’s poetry provides a ‘rocket-boost’ to the brain that cannot be matched by more simplistic modern books, research suggests.
The research also found poetry, in particular, increased activity in the right hemisphere of the brain, an area concerned with ‘autobiographical memory’, which helped the reader to reflect on and reappraise their own experiences in light of what they had read. The academics said this meant the classics were more useful than self-help books.
Philip Davis, an English professor who worked on the study with the university’s magnetic resonance centre, said: ‘Serious literature acts like a rocket-booster to the brain.
‘The research shows the power of literature to shift mental pathways, to create new thoughts, shapes and connections in the young and the staid alike.’
Volunteers’ brains were scanned while reading four lines by Wordsworth: “She lived unknown and few could know, when Lucy ceased to be. But she is in her grave and oh, the difference to me.”
Four ‘translated’ lines were also provided, including, ‘She lived a lonely life in the country, and nobody seems to know or care, but now she is dead, and I feel her loss’.
The first version caused a greater degree of brain activity, lighting up not only the left part of the brain concerned with language, but also the right hemisphere that relates to autobiographical memory and emotion.”

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2261636/Reading-Shakespeare-Wordsworth-offer-better-therapy-self-help-books.html#ixzz484XMy49K
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