Any child can achieve success
Unique education activates curiosity
AT SUNSHINE Coast Grammar we have deliberately utilised contemporary research in neuroscience that informs learning, the work of psychologists such as Dr Carol Dweck and local talent such as Professor Alan Mackay-Sim who encourage us to ask questions because it’s not the answers that get you the prize, it’s the bold, curious, courageous questions.
We know that an active mind is fuelled by an active body and we are well aware that good sleep, healthy diet and physical exercise contribute to building an active, functioning mind. Our brains were built inside bodies that are meant to move, so to improve your thinking skills, just move.
I have been sharing with the students the work of Dr John Medina, a molecular biologist who has a lifelong interest in how the brain sciences might influence the way we work and learn. The framework he presents are the 12 brain rules – what scientists know for sure about how our brain works and how we can then apply this knowledge to thrive.
For the Baby Boomers, Generation X and Y this means us, too. Aerobic exercise just twice a week halves our risk of general dementia. It cuts your risk of Alzheimer’s by 60 per cent.
According to Dr Medina, most of us do more forgetting than remembering. In his brain rules, number 4 is about paying attention.
In this hyper-connected, very full lives we live, we believe that in order to achieve everything we need to get done, to tick off everything on the to do list, we need to multi-task. We think we are getting more done, but as educators we do question if the quality is being eroded at the expense of the quantity.
Dr Medina states that brains cannot multi-task when it comes to paying attention; to truly be present and focused in the moment on the one task at hand and giving it the time and attention to ensure quality. This attentional ability is very different from being able to multi-task, such as eating and reading at the same time or walking and talking.
At key times in the term when students must give their full attention to completing a task within a timeframe and meet a deadline, they can find that paying attention is challenging. You must actively and consciously turn your mind to that task, forsaking all distractions. Dr Medina’s work has uncovered that if we are interrupted it takes 50 per cent longer to accomplish a task and we can make up to 50 per cent more errors.
When we apply this knowledge outside the school environment, the notion of not paying attention can become very dangerous. Consider all the campaigns on our roads now to reduce texting and driving.
An active mind is a powerful tool for great learning, discovery and when we work intentionally on building growth mindsets, anything can be possible.
If we are it takes 50 per cent longer to accomplish a task.
NATURE: The natural environment of SCGS inspires curiosity and creativity.
HANDS ON: Sunshine Coast Grammar School has unique learning styles.