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Jessica Watkins's picture

A Summer to Remember

I consider myself extremely lucky to have met all of this summer's participants and to have worked with them while journeying toward a fuller understanding of the brain, culture, and education.  My own thoughts and feelings have been enriched by those of this varied group, and I am grateful that I had the opportunity to interact on a level other than "student" with so many teachers.  Their insight made me appreciate my education even more after learning about the "inside story" of what goes into making a classroom what it is.  A few things that will stay with me:

  • Everybody is capable of learning, even those we label as "impaired," as long as they are given the opportunity to bring their own unique experiences to the classroom and contribute personal reflections in a safe, judgment-free environment.
  • Life, when it boils down to it, is all about storytelling.  Our brains are wired to understand this kind of explanation most easily, and it is for this reason that we interact with each other as we do and construct religions, etc.
  • The brain processes information on many levels, which is why learning comes much more easily in multiple, varied forms. 
  • Hands-on approaches that incorporate different media forms, colors, textures, etc. transfer more authority into the hands of students and allow them to apply their personal understanding to whatever they are learning.
  • Students are not the only ones learning--teachers, too, are constantly engaged in this process.  Teachers are not the final authority on any type of knowledge, and should therefore present their classroom as an environment where both they and their students can learn together.

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