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Evren's picture

How to change our brains

I have a sister five years younger than me, and when we were little kids, we would bicker and fight like most siblings do. My father would come to me because I'm the older one, and being a man of science he would say, "I know that biologically you are wired to bicker with your sister because your instincts see her as a threat and competition. However, you have to overcome those instincts and treat her more nicely." While I have matured enough to stop bickering childishly with my sister, in hindsight my father's words raise a lot of questions and points, some of which may appear to be contradictory. If my brain is physically wired in a certain way, with certain chemical reactions causing me to bicker with my sister, what can I do to change that? Did I stop bickering with my sister because I took my father's words to heart and was able to overcome my natural instinct, or did my brain simply develop as I got older in a manner that was completely out of my control? Did I simply learn that my parents wouldn't get mad at me if I treated my sister more nicely?


I believe that a lot of these questions apply to developing students into learners. How do kids learn concepts? Does the brain work almost like a muscle where repetition leads to muscle memory? Is there an ideal time in a child's development to teach them certain topics so they best retain them? Is learning even about retention, or is it more about creation?


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