Flourishing in the First Five Years Excerpt

Brief Table of Contents


Chapter 1  Challenges and Opportunities in 21st Century Schooling

Chapter 2  BIG IDEA 1: Implications of Neural Plasticity for Learning and Teaching

Chapter 3  BIG IDEA 2: Recognizing Human Potential

Chapter 4  BIG IDEA 3: Understanding Intelligence

Chapter 5  BIG IDEA 4: The Body-Brain System at Work for Learning

Chapter 6  BIG IDEA 5: Metacognition as a Path to Becoming Functionally Smarter

Chapter 7  Teaching, Learning, and Neuroeducation Myth Busting

Chapter 8  Your Journey of Learning and Teaching


Excerpt from Chapter 4, “BIG IDEA 3: Understanding Intelligence”

While there are many different views on and definitions of intelligence, both among the general public and psychologists, perhaps the most useful view for educators is the idea that intelligence can be changed and shaped based on one’s environment and experiences. After all, teachers are in the classroom to help students learn—why engage in a complex endeavor like teaching unless you believe that your efforts can and will make a positive difference?

As we look back on the preceding three chapters and consider our exploration of plasticity, potential, and intelligence, we can see that a solid foundation is emerging for approaching the rewarding and difficult work of teaching. We have learned that research supports the idea that people can learn new things across the life span—meaning that both students and teachers can expect to grow and develop through experience and hard work. Potential and intelligence are not fixed at birth; genetics play a role in everyone’s development, but genes do not determine what a person can ultimately accomplish. The concept of experience-dependent synaptogenesis suggests that people learn and develop based on their environment and the experiences they have in life.

These findings underscore the importance of a safe, nurturing classroom environment in which all students have the opportunity to fulfill their potential and increase their intelligence. The ability of any individual to grow in intelligence, or “get smarter,” makes it clear that educators have both an enormous responsibility and an excellent reason to believe they can help all students learn. Instruction in thinking skills as well as content is critical for students to become lifelong learners and engaged citizens in today’s world …

©Copyright Donna Wilson. 2013. All Rights Reserved.
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