Monday, August 26, 2013

It's Brain Science

We had an all-day packaged training at school today. As it happened, there were many practical ideas offered, and spending the day in the library with my colleagues actually relieved a lot of my usual first day back stress-- there was really no other choice, so I just went with it. My group of four was also awesome, making it that much easier to relax and enjoy the day.

Oh, I still have a philosophical objection to the merchandising of education; I believe we paid a lot of money for nothing more than a common sense set of strategies and the common language that goes along with a whole-staff orientation, but I am glad that we did not buy any test-taking and remediation advice from any subsidiaries of test-making companies. (That will come later.)

The session itself was generally engaging; the presenter very effectively used the strategies she was selling to get her message of structured cooperative learning across, and although I do have some concerns about extrovert bias, this introvert had an okay time. I even learned a few things, like for example your brain is constantly evaluating your experiences and sorting them into threats, opportunities, or neither (which are things to be ignored). Once you perceive a threat, your amygdala goes into hyper drive, resulting in a mental state where it is impossible to think clearly or even learn for up to three hours.

Later, when Heidi and I were debriefing at home, I asked her about one of the activities. "So, what did you say your ideal job would be? Dog training?"

"Yeah, with Cesar Milan," she said. "What about you? Park ranger?"

"Yeah!" I said. "How did you know that? I could barely think of ianything to say myself this morning."

She shrugged. "I know you."

Better than my own amygdala, apparently.

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