Notes on Learning from Dr. Browning

In 2000, my husband and I had the distinct honor of participating in the Leadership Georgia 2000 program. We were inducted into this program largely because of our work with the Valentine's Day tornadoes.

When I attend ANYTHING or go to any kind of class, you can pick me out. I am a prolific notetaker.

Taking notes is important to me because when I learn something transformational it is like a jewel. When I look back at my notes, I get to rediscover all of the jewels that I've forgotten.

One such transformational speaker who led me to consider entering the educational field in the first place was Dr. Geil Browning of the Browning Group. She was an excellent speaker and is flown in each year to teach the first session of Leadership Georgia.

Her specialty is the brain and how it works and how it relates to leadership! She is excellent!

I would like to share with you some of my notes from that session because they are relevant to education. Some of these statistics may have changed since 2000 but many have just been verified since that time.

“The illiterate of the future are not those who cannot read or write, but those who cannot, learn, unlearn, and relearn.” FutureShock

Notes on learning/ training

  • If you have fun when you are learning, it is proven that you learn better.
  • You must teach to the four thinking types.
    • Yellow – Change something every 10-15 minutes, particularly before or after a break
  • The following outline of the brain's development show us the optimum times to teach children as well as what happens as we age. (If children are not exposed to these before or during these ranges, they will never fully reach their potential in these areas.)
    • Music – age 7 to 10
    • Language – before age 13
    • Higher mathematics – 16-18
    • Children – Reading by age 6 (note if do read before this time, they should learn the eye exercises taught in class to prevent the eyes from distending and causing nearsightedness.)
    • 10-12 – Abstract Problem Solving and Reasoning
    • 12 – 15 – Children are learning about values. (Not much else happens as the brain diverts its energy to puberty. Myelination begins where pathways in the brain that aren't being used are severed and those which are being used are strengthened.)
    • Age 22 – (Corpus Collosum may finish myelinating) – People who are fully “connected” see things others don’t see – ethics and the preservation of species.
    • After Age 22 – “Reperturbation” Significant life events cause the brain to reorder
      • Age 21-28 – How to transition to adulthood? Career? Friends? Significant others? Children?
      • Ages 28-35 – What are my values? How do I measure success? What will be my legacy?
      • Age 35-42 – What is meaning of happiness? Are my values & outer life congruent? Am I emotionally well?
      • Age 42-49 – Where am I going the next half of my life? How can I empty my life to concentrate on issues that I value?
      • Age 49-56 – How can I use my energy and wisdom to make the world a better place?
      • Age 56-63 – What is the best use of the life I have left?
      • Age 63-70 – Grandparent. How can we restore balance to a troubled world?

Dr. Browning's incredible synopsis of these stages of the brain have transformed my thinking and understanding over these past years.

I will be posting more of these notes but have a few thoughts about them.

Good curriculum directors and educators focus on what is best for children and what they should be exposed to. Others, let what is convenient for the school drive curriculum.

The occurence of myelination has driven me to make sure that our students are exposed to keyboarding before puberty. It is very common that the fastest typists played piano at a young age or had a parent teach them typing. Traditionally, we typed in the eighth grade but now we have moved it to the fifth and are working to get it to the fourth. It is really a balancing act.

When considering the facts, our curriculum director and I spent some time discussing and learning about the following things:

  • How long does it take for students to master cursive writing? (If you get into this time, students will often prefer keyboarding and never master cursive.)
  • How long does it take for children's hands to become the right size so they will not have carpal tunnel syndrome from typing on misized keyboards?
  • When do students start chatting? (You really need to be prior to this or they will learn bad habits.)

I think the keyboarding issue is an often overlooked one. I am convinced that it is vital to teach keyboarding before blogging and working online extensively. Because, once a person has been taught incorrectly it is very difficult to break bad habits and learn new ones.

Do it right the first time!

I think this keyboarding issue is an unsung issue as well as one that significantly impacts the future of student productivity. A student who can type 60 words a minute versus 10 is six times faster and more productive than one who doesn't.

This is truly an important issue. I don't see much talk of it in computer science circles because it has been relegated to “vocational.” However, if a student has a 1000 lines of code due tomorrow and types 8 words a minute, they won't be finishing the code and they will want to drop Computer Science.

I guess it is part of technology communication fluency. Kids simply must begin to keyboard correctly at a young age!

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Vicki Davis

Vicki Davis is a full-time classroom teacher and IT Director in Georgia, USA. She is Mom of three, wife of one, and loves talking about the wise, transformational use of technology for teaching and doing good in the world. She hosts the 10 Minute Teacher Podcast which interviews teachers around the world about remarkable classroom practices to inspire and help teachers. Vicki focuses on what unites us -- a quest for truly remarkable life-changing teaching and learning. The goal of her work is to provide actionable, encouraging, relevant ideas for teachers that are grounded in the truth and shared with love. Vicki has been teaching since 2002 and blogging since 2005. Vicki has spoken around the world to inspire and help teachers reach their students. She is passionate about helping every child find purpose, passion, and meaning in life with a lifelong commitment to the joy and responsibility of learning. If you talk to Vicki for very long, she will encourage you to "Relate to Educate" or "innovate like a turtle" or to be "a remarkable teacher." She loves to talk to teachers who love their students and are trying to do their best. Twitter is her favorite place to share and she loves to make homemade sourdough bread and cinnamon rolls and enjoys running half marathons with her sisters. You can usually find her laughing with her students or digging into a book.

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