Saturday, March 24, 2007

Thinking in Charlotte

I've just touched down, completing leg 1 of 3 necessary to get me to my final spring break destination. The time on the plane from SRQ to Charlotte was spent re-immersing myself in The New Brain by Richard Restak. Nevermind the fact that I first started the book two years ago which likely means it's no longer the new brain. (Brain fashions are so hard to follow, and I've never been very trendy.

I picked up the book after attending a professional development seminar offered by the district. The focus was on occupational therapy and incorporating brain science into pedagogy and classroom environment. It was one of those awakenings in teaching where I was struck by how little of what we do as teachers has to do with what scientists tell us about how the brain works.

A piece of the book talks about ADD and ADHD. Restak contends that we should stop looking at ADD and ADHD as disorders and begin thinking about them as new adaptive ways of brain functioning. While I can get on board with the thinking, I'm not sure how comfortable I am with referring to AD and ADH.

Restak also talks about the fallacy of multi-tasking. I know this isn't new stuff at this point and that our brains are truly switching quickly between tasks. I get that. What Restak writes that interests me is the decline in efficiancy when the brain is asked to switch between these multiple tasks. We're doing more, but not necessarily doing better. I've about 60 pages to go. I'm hoping to be on my next book by the end of leg 2. This is what spring break is all about...for teachers.

More later.

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