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Faculty Hears About Brain Research & Mapping

A customary staff retreat is held every semester a week before the students arrive. The themes for these sessions are normally recent topics in educational research. This semester had a segment about how the brain works and it's structure. This is a current topic which is being discussed in conventions all around the world. The amazing information session was put together by Mr. Jeffery, Mr. Hanisch, and Dr. Whitcomb.

There are now scientific methods of tracking the electrical impulses of the brain. It is also used to show where activity in the brain takes place for different situations. Neuroscientists can now make an accurate picture of how the brain processes thoughts and ideas. This topic has proven to be important in the development of Woodstock.

This helped the teachers because they now understand the reasons why students do certain things. Teachers now look at students and think 'why' instead of 'wrong'. It was said that the more creative you are when you write notes, the more likely you are to remember them. Many teachers now include this in their teaching methods. With this research, many things are explained in specific details instead of just general areas.

Some of the facts that are remembered by the teachers are that drinking water promotes brain (neural) activity. This is why many teachers now recommend 8 glasses of water a day. Also that students start to get in a daze if they are seated for too long. Physical activity helps to refresh the brain so more information can be processed. This why in high school, with our double period classes which are an hour and twenty-minutes long, we are now given permission by most teachers for physical activity during short breaks.

Mr. Jeffery, our principal, gave a lecture on a narrower topic in this area, mind mapping. This is the basic theory of writing thoughts like they are in the brain. It is now proven that there is a way each person can learn. This method is different for everyone. For maximum benefit, some need graphs, others lists, pictures, and keywords. Many teachers have now incorporated mind mapping into their classrooms by encouraging students to develop their own mapping skills. This way everyone will get the most out of the classes that they can.

With these ideas in mind the teachers are also learning alongside with the students. As Dr. Barton puts it, "My job is not just to teach Chemistry but to teach students how to learn." This is to say some teachers have become open minded in understanding how some students get the best grades. This could even be by associating objects with their opposites. Practical application, quiet reflection, and hands on might be the best way for certain people. This is why we have a variety of learning techniques.

Goals were also discussed in this retreat. In an experiment, it was found that writing goals could be very productive. On two groups of men in prison, one wrote weekly journals of what they wanted to achieve and do when they got out and the other didn't. It was beneficial to those who wrote goals as half of the men who didn't write goals ended back up in prison. So far, our class has done this twice and will open our letters around quarter break. only time will tell how effective this really is for us.

-Seema Sharon, grade 11

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