Tread carefully when applying theories that you believe about the brain to learning. A lot of the myths that are quickly debunked in the chapter often have an effect on learning strategies for students that may not actually benefit them. It is important to look at the brain and focus on what we are most certain about, as this is what will benefit our learning. First and foremost, we have an understanding about the structure of our brain and how it is formed. Like a sculpture artist who starts with a block and ends with Abraham Lincoln, our brain too has over produced synapses, and essentially keeps the ones we use. This would be supported by why it is so much easier to learn languages when we are children. Further, the other way the brain’s connections are formed are from nothing. As we learn, it seems to be the case that experience creates new synapses where they were none previously, and this is incredibly fascinating because this means that we have the power to continue to learn throughout our lives. The chapter quickly ends on establishing the connection between these learning experiences (which are not just exercise (the brain is more than a muscle)) and the reorganization and development of our brain. This lead me back to when I was first introduced to the concept of schemas a few years ago in Psychology.
Schemas were originally introduced in 1932 (Bartlett), who attempted to describe the structure of our brain. They can be defined as different groups of thoughts in our brain, which have similar ideas. In High school, I was fascinated by the idea of the structure of our brain, and I kept going back to the concept of the folders in my computer and how they encompassed the metaphor so beautifully. Today, upon digging up those old files in my head, it got me to think of an interesting study for the future. Could we analyze the file structure of our computers and infer something about how our brain is structured? Human beings structure things in folders because this is the most sensible manner to do so for us, but everyone structures things a little different on their computer. It would be interesting to see if the way we structure things has something to say about how we have wired our brains.
Bartlett, F.C. (1932). Remembering: A Study in Experimental and Social Psychology. Cambridge, England: Cambridge University Press.