While reading through my email today, I came across this education blog titled “Calming, Laughing, and Liking: The Amygdala and Learning.” With a neuroscientist husband, my own graduate studies led me to study the relationship between the brain and learning. Sure, we all know that the brain is responsible for helping us make sense of the world, but do we really know how and why? And can parts of the brain actually prevent us from or hinder learning? This author partly addressed this question, as well as the relationship between academic and professional reading and writing. Perhaps one of the more important questions for educators, however, is
Does the teacher really do what she tells us to do?
It made me wonder if I ask my doctoral students to do something I don’t do myself–carefully read the literature in one’s field of study on a regular basis, think about what that literature means to my specific interests as well as how it adds to my knowledge, and how the article or post helps me with my own academic writing. My response was “yes” to all the questions. However, that response does not answer the question about why I, too, find it difficult to write academic or academically oriented items.
This blogger also discusses the area of the brain that might actually mediate our learning and sharing, and it is a small part of the brain called the amygdala. On learning and the amygdala, the blogger states:
we literally can’t learn when our fear centers are lit up.
and it is this little area that can prevent learning in general, and learning to write for publication (thoughtfully sharing learned information in work written in an acceptable manner), especially for academic and professional purposes.
Do I do what I tell my students to do? I definitely try, but I, too, have a fear of professionally sharing in academic environments.
Incidentally, at the end of this blog is a link to a list of readings related to the amygdala and learning.
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