THE BRAIN AS  MEANING MAKER OR ORGAN OF THE MIND: 'BRAIN/MIND'

                              

Brain-Mind.com

http://www.solhaam.org/articles/humind.html

  http://www.21learn.org/arch/articles/caine_principles.html                            

theme: The human brain is a social brain which has evolved with the specialized capacity for detecting relationships and connections in the process of making meaning of experience or 'learning' as 'meaningful learning' or 'experiential learning'. Experiential learning is a function of cognition which engages emotion in the process of adaptation to changes in the environment i.e. 'adaptability'.... For education it is crucial to understand the global nature of the functioning of the brain... or 'mind'.... as a biological system

"Brain and 'mind' evolved together. Language created the selection pressure under which emerged the human brain and the consciousness of self." (Popper K. and John Eccles. The Self and Its Brain. New York, London: Springer International, 1979 13)

 'human brain as 'social brain'     brain evolution...  three brains in one or ‘triune’ brain…

brain functions: meaning maker... parallel processor...   pattern detector...  cognition as 'information processing'...

prefrontal lobes (motivation)...

holistic perception..  

cerebral hemispheres   

creative intelligence combines reason with instinctive perceptual intelligence or 'intuition'...

biology of learning...  

implications for education... learning involves emotions   teacher attributes...

Unconscious behaviour is automatic behaviour.

 events can affect mental functions even though they cannot be consciously perceived or remembered.

division of the cognitive unconscious into inaccessible unconscious, deep unconscious of primary experience that is non-experienced - it has not been consciously experienced.

 mental processes or structures operating on knowledge structures that may themselves be accessible... preconscious... and subconscious is accessible given appropriate stimuli. These processes interact in complex ways. Conscious percepts, concepts, rules, knowledge, and so on emerge from unconscious processes, in a bottom-up fashion.

 Psycholinguist Noam Chomsky... language is mediated by 'deep' grammatical structures which are inaccessible to conscious introspection, and can be known only by inference.

goal of structural approach to bring the underlying affective and cognitive structures into awareness and disclose their mode of operation.

  cognitive subconscious is by and large left brained... affective subconscious is by and large right brained . 

  The human organism as a social organism with a 'social brain' The human organism is a social organism which belongs to the primate order of the human species - knowing man or 'homo sapiens'. One of the most striking features which differentiates homo sapiens from its ancestral species - upright man or 'homo erectus' is the high forehead. The high forehead of homo sapiens is associated with the development of the frontal lobes of the brain.

The understanding of the workings of the human mind/human brain or 'mind/brain... depends on the understanding of the human as a 'social brain'... and the human organism as a social organism or social 'animal'.  The human organism depends on social intelligence for the cooperation which is necessary for survival. Social intelligence depends on the human capacity for ego-transcendance and the spiritual dimension of moral consciousness or 'conscience'.  Fully developed conscience - an emergent property of brain functioning... is a function of integrated personality which is defined in terms of social values or 'human values'

 

The human organism is a social organism with social needs 'values'  The human organism is a social organism instinctively motivated to relate to others - to 'socialise' and to 'assimilate' - in order to acquire the things which it needs for work and for defence. Motivations for socialisation and assimilation are intrinsic to the nature of the human personality i.e. 'human nature'. Human nature is defined in terms of instinctive motives for human thought and behaviour rooted in the instinct for self-preservation and the organismic striving for 'mature growth' or 'self-actualisation'  i.e. 'human needs'. Human needs are biologically based 'value choices' or 'operative values'. The human operative values or 'human values' are involved in the unfolding of human powers and human potential for 'wholeness' or 'health' i.e. 'wellness'. Human needs include basic and higher psychological needs as well as  the obvious physiological needs for survival of the organism and the species. The basic psychological needs - the 'ego needs' - are the needs for self-respect and self-esteem. Gratification of the ego needs depends on communication of security or 'unconditional love'. Once the basic psychological needs have been met then the individual becomes less dependent on others for the gratification of the needs for growth or 'growth needs' for 'normal growth' or 'spiritual growth'. Spiritual growth depends on self-reliance for gratification of the 'higher psychological needs' - the 'spiritual needs' for 'ego-transcendance' i.e. the 'Being needs', 'B-needs' or 'metaneeds'. The metaneeds are 'social values' of social cooperation or 'socialisation' required for successful adaptation to changing social conditions i.e. 'adaptability'. Human adaptability depends on education for development of the 'spiritual equipment' which ensures the connectedness of human beings as social beings i.e. 'creative intelligence'. Creative intelligence allows for effective decision making for responsive action which is creative and adaptive a function of the spiritual dimension of human nature... 'spirituality'.and communication through 'functional language'...

 Biological function of human values: Like other species of the animal kingdom, homo sapiens, the social human animal, naturally behaves in accordance with an organismic valuing process which enables him to adapt to his changing social environment. Survival of the human organism as a social organism ..... depends on the natural human capacity for cooperation with other individuals..The human capacity for cooperation with other human individuals is dependent on spiritual values of morality... survival of the species depends on intelligent social behaviour ...which depends on the capacity for ego-transcendance... and living in the realm of the 'Being values'... requires communication through language and the spiritual needs or values...  . the human organism depends for survival on the successful functioning as a social organism ... as a social organism the human organism depends on effective decision making for adaptive behaviour in a changing social environment...depends on the ability to make correct evaluations of a changing social environment... in order to make the right choices for survival the human organism depends on the understanding of the realities of the social environment... correct evaluation of the social environment depends on normal functioning of the brain's natural capacity for social intelligence ...on intelligent moral value choices and therefore on the fully developed human conscience...correct evaluations depend on natural human interdependence...

The human organism is a social organism which depends for survival on intelligent behaviour.

Intelligence is a human characteristic which evolved because it had survival value for the species. Survival of the organism and evolution of the human species depended on the development of intelligence.

The evolution of the human species as a social species results from natural selection of a brain with capacities for 'social intelligence'. Social intelligence is the ability to evaluate correctly the complexities of the social environment in order to make the right decisions or 'choices' for survival... required for the successful adaptation to changing social conditions.

 The degree of accuracy in the evaluation of the social environment depends of level of personality development. Accurate evaluation of the social environment depends on fully developed or 'integrated' personality manifest in the fully developed or 'mature' human conscience. Human conscience is defined in terms of moral consciousness or 'morality'. Morality is necessary for human survival.

With intense interest in reality, the brain is affected and stimulated emotionally and intellectually, subconsciously and consciously the human brain automatically evaluates the realities of the social environment in the process of understanding its complexities. The extent of understanding is a function of the degree of accuracy in the evaluation of the social environment. The human organism depends on the ability to make successful evaluations of changing social realities..

 Human evolution as 'brain evolution'    The functions of the human brain are the natural outcomes of millions of years of evolutionary process through natural  selection 

 Evolution of the frontal lobes probably occurred very fast in the Middle Pleistocene era... prefrontal lobes...

 Creative force for human evolution as 'human advancement'  Before this time in history, the concept of human advancement was focused on sources outside the individual. Statesmen shaped the governments etc....Throughout history "while people's reactions and responses changed radically as a result of new external circumstances such as political revolutions and technological breakthroughs, their underlying assumptions remained essentially unchanged. They continued to assume that the predominantly creative force in their lives was external to them; it came from somewhere other than themselves. (Robert Fritz Path of Least Resistance Chapter Three: Reactive-Responsive Orientation) Robert Fritz coined the term "circumstantial stimuli": any stimuli, external or internal, which seem to force people to take action. These sometimes evoke spontaneous reaction and at other times seem to call for 'appropriate' responses. This is the 'reactive-responsive orientation'. In this kind of situation, it seems that the circumstances are more powerful than you are. Strategies are designed to avoid immediate unwanted circumstances. Longer range strategies are designed to prevent unwanted circumstances from happening in the first place. This is called the 'pre-emptive strike'. Spiritual poverty results in defensive strategy; all the energy is focused on what the person does not want. People using it are continually in a position of potentially compromising whatever they may truly want in their lives for the sake of safety, security and sense of peace. Spiritual richness results in creative strategy; all the energy is focused on what the person does want. People using it are positive and creative, accomplishing things which enhance their own welfare and happiness as well as that of others.

Social intelligence as characteristic of survival value in human evolution... 'brain evolution' ..as a biological species, the human species is endowed with a genetic make-up which ensures instinctive drives to adaptation for survival of the individual and continuation of the survival of the species...

 Survival of the organism and evolution of the human species depends on the development of social intelligence... social brain ... man survived as a species because of the specialized brain functions, ability for speech and tool making etc.

. ability for speech and tool making etc. Intelligent behavior was necessary for survival. Preparation for future possible action in situations not as yet existent in actuality ...intelligent preparation for future danger ...necessary for survival of a species not endowed with the other physical characteristics of other animal species. .. is an essential condition of, and factor in, all intelligent behavior .

Survival of the human species depends on the specialized brain functions for learning.

  Brain functions The brain is best understood in terms of its general function as 'meaning maker'  of experience i.e. 'experiential learning'. The brain automatically ('curiosity') responds to the complexity of stimuli in its search for meaning in the environment in which it is immersed. In a state of 'alertness' the brain automatically processes the environmental stimuli or 'information'. The ability to process information or 'think'  is a function of 'intelligence' (as 'creative intelligence'). Understanding or 'cognition' results and this leads to action or 'behaviour'.

The brain as a meaning maker... meaningful learning is a function of cognition which engages emotionThe basic function of the brain is to make sense or meaning of the complexity of experience i.e. to 'learn'. Learning from experience or 'experiential learning' is meaningful learning. Experiential learning is a natural physiological function.. a function of thought or 'cognition' which engages feeling or 'emotion'. Repression of emotion has the effect of inhibiting the effective functioning of the brain. (Evolutionary function of  emotion:  emotions are specialised states - shaped by natural selection - that increase fitness in specific situations.) Recognition and respect for the emotional state has the effect of stimulating the brain to detect connections and relationships... to function optimally. So-called 'optimalearning' is enhanced learning which engages instinctive 'emotional intelligence' or 'intuition'. The result is complete understanding or 'creative intelligence'.

Understanding or 'cognition' Cognition is the active processing of information through analysis which exposes relationships within the complexities of a system so that new connections are discovered. Cognition yields 'empirical knowledge' which provides useful information for purposeful decisions and effective adaptation. It must be quick and effective to be beneficial to the organism. The brain's instinctive drive to make meaning of the environment or 'learn' is the driving force behind the brain's highly developed mental processes - the natural thinking or 'cognitive skills' of 'natural learning'.

Information processing... cognitive role of subconscious interpretation of environmental stimuli 

the brain as pattern detector The conceptual interaction of parts and wholes depends on the brain's ability to search for connections and patterns i.e. 'patterning'. The brain is a 'pattern detector'. It searches for patterns all the time. The direction of patterning is influenced by emotions and mind-sets associated with situations and circumstances. As a pattern detector, the brain detects existing patterns and creates new ones, hence its potential for inventiveness or 'creativity'. Creativity is a function of the brain's ability to perceive connections i.e. 'brain-based learning'. Brain-based learning is the basis for understanding the complexity of environmental stimuli

 the brain as parallel processor... simultaneous processing of complex stimuli... The brain processes all incoming stimuli at the same time or 'in parallel'. The brain is a 'parallel processor'. Familiar stimuli of past experience are automatically processed at the same time as novel stimuli of new experience. The brain processes signals absorbed on all levels of awareness or 'consciousness'.

 The cognitive function of the brain depends on unconscious forces of two types: emotional forces and cognitive forces. Emotional forces include unconscious emotions and feelings of the affective life...  affective structures of the 'affective unconscious'. Cognitive forces include unconscious cognitive forces of the thinking life... thought patterns or 'mental structures' of the 'cognitive unconscious'.

The cognitive unconscious... In 1862 W. B. Carpenter ('Mental Physiology') first used the term 'unconscious cerebration' to express the activity of the cortical neurons which are not associated with conscious changes. In the 1970s Carpenter's discovery was revived by child psychologist Jean Piaget and clinical psychologist Melvin L. Weiner. In the 1980s and 1990s a new picture of the cognitive unconscious emerged from cognitive science. Complex information processing involves unconscious processes which are capable of cognitive functions requiring intention, deliberation, and conscious awareness. A person's behaviour can be understood in terms of  'affective unconscious'... combined with thought patterns of the cognitive life... unconscious mental structures of the 'cognitive unconscious'.  Both affective unconscious and 'cognitive unconscious' have impact on the person's conscious experience, thought, and behaviour. Both are elusive.

Many incoming environmental stimuli are perceived and processed simultaneously. The brain responds consciously on a set of environmental stimuli- 'field of focused attention' - while responding subconsciously to environmental stimuli which are peripheral to it - 'peripheral stimuli'. The brain rapidly processes the information - organizes, analyzes, integrates and evaluates in order to make quick decisions for purposeful adaptation to changing conditions. The brain rapidly processes environmental stimuli in the field of focused attention responding on the conscious' level of awareness - the so-called 'intellectual level' - within the context of peripheral stimuli which are perceived and processed unconsciously at the 'subconscious' level of awareness - the so-called 'emotional' level. The brain's conscious or 'intellectual' interpretation of the focused stimuli depends on its subconscious interpretation of the peripheral stimuli. Stimuli in the field of focused attention are consciously processed within the context of the subconscious interpretation of the peripheral stimuli. The subconscious meanings attached to peripheral stimuli determine the way in which the brain consciously processes information in the field of focused attention. The conscious interpretation of information depends on the subconscious interpretation of peripheral stimuli. Processed information is rapidly encoded in the 'short term memory' for storage in the 'long term memory'.

The brain's subconscious evaluation of the environmental stimuli determines the individual's interpretation and motives for behaviour i.e. 'motivation'.

When the cognitive and affective subconscious are made conscious, a person can develop new structures which lead to fundamentally new ways of feeling, perceiving, thinking and behaving.

 

 Emotion and cognition are not separate. It is the emotional context in which environmental stimuli are perceived that determines the 'direction of processing' or 'motivation'. Motivation for experiential learning is innate and intrinsic to the organism i.e. 'intrinsic motivation'. Intrinsic motivation involves the response of the brain as a whole i.e. 'holistic perception'. Holistic perception is perception of relationships and the formation of intellectual concepts based on the interaction between parts and wholes.

  The learning process involves both conscious and unconscious levels hence the 'complexity of learning'. On the conscious level, the brain processes environmental signals to which it is paying attention and of which it is aware in the field of 'focused attention'. Focused perception occurs on the cognitive level of consciousness and this constitutes the cognitive aspect of learning. At the same time, the brain processes environmental signals to which it is not paying attention and of which it is unaware... signals that lie beyond the field of focused attention... 'peripheral stimuli' in the field of 'peripheral perception'. Peripheral perception occurs on the unconscious level of consciousness or the 'subconscious'. It is the subconscious processing of signals that constitutes the emotional aspect of learning or 'emotional intelligence'.

When threat is converted into challenge, then effective learning takes place. With effective learning, decision-making becomes appropriate for creative or 'adaptive' behaviour. Adaptive behaviour depends on the integration of cognition and emotion to produce effective learning and contentment or 'happiness'. Happiness is a state of mind resulting from learning which is challenging, meaningful and experienced with joy. The joy of learning is a characteristic feature of education for the whole person or 'holistic education'.

The inability to convert threat into challenge results in demotivation and ineffective learning. Decision-making is inappropriate. The result is non-creative or 'non-adaptive' behaviour which creates unhappiness and distress or 'stress'.

Evaluation is correct or incorrect depending on the type of motivation.          

The meaning of learning is communicated through 'functional language'.

"Brain and 'mind' evolved together. Language created the selection pressure under which emerged the human brain and the consciousness of self." (Popper K. and John Eccles. The Self and Its Brain. New York, London: Springer International, 1979 13)

Survival of the human organism depends on the capacity to make meaning of the environment or 'learn' and then to retain the learning or 'remember'... survival value of remembered experience.... 'memory' The capacities for learning and memory are functions of complex information processing - an instinctive capacity of the 'organ of learning' or 'meaning maker' i.e. 'brain'. The human brain automatically responds as a whole to the complexity of the environment in which it is immersed - a result of 'brain evolution'. The 'holistic response' of the brain involves the simultaneous processing of many incoming stimuli... multitudinous stimuli... which deal with body functioning and health maintenance as well as the intellect and the emotions. Integrated brain functioning leads to behaviour which is creative and productive or 'adaptive'. Adaptive behaviour depends on the brain's capacity to learn from the complexities of experience i.e. 'experiential learning' or 'meaningful learning'. Meaningful learning or 'natural learning' is a function of accurate evaluation and intelligent planning for action or 'decision making' i.e. 'intuition'. Intuition is an emergent property of the holistic or 'global' response of the developed brain. Development of the human brain depends on social and cultural conditions which foster the capacity for 'socialisation' based on character development' or moral development'. Moral development is development of the moral or 'spiritual' dimension of human nature -  the highest 'consciousness state' ... defined in terms of values of human connectedness - the 'social values' or 'human values'.

 Development of intelligence depends on respect for the personal world or 'inner life'. The person's inner life involves a process of comparing novel stimuli of new experience with familiar stimuli of past experience i.e remembered experience or 'memory'. Memory of experience or 'spatial memory' depends on the emotions with which it is associated. Memory of experiential learning is necessary for survival. Human survival depends on the capacity to learn from experience and to make intelligent decisions which will produce adaptive behaviour

  'Biology of learning' The physiological functions of natural learning (experiential) involved in the continuity of information from one part of the brain to another - 'information flow': the propagation of electrochemical signals or 'nerve impulses' along nerve cells or 'neurons' and their transmission across the connecting points between them, the 'synapses'. Modification of synaptic connections - 'synapse modification' - results in changes in existing neural networks and the creation of new ones and this accounts for the brain's potential for change or 'neuroplasticity'. These constitute the biological basis of mental functions of the brain as  'mind'.... the interrelated processes of 'analysis'... remembering, separating and comparing mental data and the interrelated processes of 'synthesis'.... organizing, integrating, evaluating, detecting relationships and making connections. (see .

Subconscious interpretation of environmental stimuli is source of motives for learning and behaviour or 'motivation'  Motivation for behaviour is either creative ('adaptive') or destructive ('non-adaptive') depending on the accuracy of the brain's subconscious evaluation of the environment. The type of motivation depends on the individual's level of personality development i.e. 'motivational type' or personality type'. Motivational type depends on level of moral development or 'moral intelligence'. Decisions are 'intelligent' if they lead to responsible action and adaptive behaviour; they are 'unintelligent' if they lead to behaviour which is irresponsible and non-adaptive i.e. 'human wickedness' or 'evil'. Intelligence is a function of 'consciousness state' ... derived from effect of subconscious emotional forces on the learning process.

Motivational state is a function of emotional growth or 'moral development' The subconscious interpretation of environmental stimuli is determined by emotional states or developmental stage which the individual has reached i.e. 'socio-cognitive stage'.  Socio-cognitive stages of development constitute the hierarchy of 'moral stages' during development of conscience - the source of 'human values'. Human values are required for adaptation of the organism as a social organism i.e. social adaptation or 'social intelligence'.  Development of social intelligence depends on education in environmental conditions - both physical or 'material' and social or 'cultural' - which foster development to spiritual maturity as 'mature growth' or 'self-actualisation'. Self-actualisation engages the human potential for creativity and productivity or 'work' and involves  development of 'moral consciousness' or 'conscience'. Conscience is the human 'soul' - the source of creative intelligence. The development of conscience is a function of integration of the human personality or 'human nature'.

Human nature is defined in terms of human values for moral behaviour or 'morality' - a function of moral development.

The brain as an organ of learning adapted for the survival of the species... product of human evolution through 'natural selection' (see brain evolution) The human brain can best be understood in terms of behavioural adaptation and survival...naturally engaged in survival oriented processes... driven by the instinctive need to search for meaning or 'learn'. The brain is an 'organ of learning'..

 Human adaptive behaviour depends on the proper development of the capacity for decision making crucial for survival. The decision making process depends on the brain's innate capacity to derive meaning from numerous complex and  The brain's natural capacity for processing information from a multifaceted environment depends on its innate capacity to seek patterns and detect them as quickly as possible. Survival oriented and a naturally selected characteristic in the evolution of the human species is the brain's specialized capacity and drive for deriving meaning of the environment. The highly developed mental functions of learning and memory are natural outcomes of the human evolutionary process

 In a natural process of meaningful learning, the brain responds automatically to the complexity of numerous simultaneous environmental stimuli.

"The brain is best understood in terms of three functioning units: 1.'automatic response to the complexity of stimuli in its search for meaning in the complex environment in which it is immersed... 'alertness' , information processing or thinking'...  intelligence and action." (Restak The Brain)

...which thrives on complexity and learns by programs. A 'parallel processor,' the brain processes many incoming stimuli in 'parallel' - at the same time. It processes stimuli involved with body functioning and health maintenance - hormone levels in the bloodstream, digestion, breathing, heart etc. simultaneously with those involved with thoughts and feelings.   the brain's search for meaning is survival oriented...instinctive and cannot be stopped. The brain's innate drive to search for meaning occurs through a processing mechanism of 'patterning' which is influenced by emotional states or 'affective states', feelings and mind-sets regarding the environmental stimuli, situations and circumstances.

Meaningful learning as a natural process which is enhanced by physical well being or 'wellness'... also an alternation of different states of consciousness - rational waking state, creative, meditative state, dream state, etc.

It naturally resists the imposition of meaningless patterns and isolated facts which are unrelated to meaningful experiences.

 The survival of the individual depends on meaningful learning and adaptive behavior. In the evolution of the human species, survival of the human organism has depended on the natural selection of brain functions which enabled the individual to derive meaning from environnmental stimuli. Brain functions which resulted in effective thinking produced adaptive behavior and subsequent survival. Brain functions which produced non-effective thinking produced non-adaptive behavior and subsequent non-survival. The human species has evolved a brain with the specialized capacity for meaningful learning required for adaptive behavior

The brain's 'external sensory input' - experience of any kind is subjected to 'internal processing.' In order to make sense of new experience, the brain attempts to categorize and pattern new information with what is already stored This is done at a very high rate of speed. Hart 1975  coined the term 'program structure' or 'proster' - a neologism compressing 'program structure' - creating a new word free of any old connotations. A proster is a collection of stored programs related to a particular pattern.  According to the proster theory, the human brain works by programs. Effective learning takes place when the external sensory input challenges the brain to do three things: 1. call up the greatest number of appropriate programs; 2. expand an already existing program; 3. develop new programs. A supportive environment and the absence of threat stimulates the formation of new prosters

Teaching to the brain' is teaching with the brain's rules

Holistic learning is 'global learning', optimal learning or 'optimalearning' The brain is driven by the instinctive need to search for meaning in the complexity of the environment in which it is immersed. The brain's function as 'meaning maker' of experience drives its natural capacities for learning based on the brain's natural rules for meaningful learning is 'brain-based learning'. Brain-based learning is learning which is based on the brain's natural functions or 'rules' for meaningful learning i.e. 'brain functions'... comparing, patterning and categorizing.  brain-based learning engages the global functioning of the brain.... i.e. optimal learning or 'optimalearning'.

The brain has a natural capacity for 'holistic perception'  The brain perceives and processes parts and wholes simultaneously. The parts and wholes interact - the parts contain the whole and the whole contains the parts. It is the interconnectedness of the specialized hemispheres which provides for the integral functioning of the brain. The brain is activated as a whole. The brain processes wholes. The two brain hemispheres interact and the activity of the brain as a whole adds up to more than the sum of its parts. In its attempt to make meaning of the environment, the brain responds 'holistically' to environmental stimuli, perceiving and creating connections between parts and the whole.     The brain has a natural capacity for 'holistic perception'.

The brain's natural capacity for holistic perception is based on the interactivity of the two cerebral hemispheres via the corpus collosum. As a result of the interconnectedness of the hemispheres, the brain is activated as a whole and Its functioning is integrated. The brain's function as meaning maker is a natural physiological process of information processing or 'learning'. The brain's potential for learning is based on the interdependent and integrated functioning of the left and right hemispheres. As the basis for the holistic functioning of the brain, the integrated functioning of the specialized  cerebral hemispheres is of paramount significance to a holistic brain-based learning theory.

It is crucial to understand the global nature of brain functioning or holistic perception. The physiological basis for the brain's natural capacity for holistic perception is specialization of the cerebral hemispheres (brain laterality) and their interaction. The brain's natural holistic functioning is based on the interactivity and the integrated functioning of the two cerebral hemispheres. Effective pedagogical methods account for the brain's capacity for the simultaneous perception of parts and wholes. Teaching and learning strategies account for the fact that the simultaneous perception of parts and wholes is the basis for understanding. The simultaneous perception of parts and wholes is necessary for the understanding of the interrelationships between the component parts of a whole and for the understanding of the parts to the whole. Teaching methods which account for the physiological basis of holistic thinking are brain-based and effective in the learning process. The global presentation of subject matter is conducive to the global functioning of the brain (global method)... 'brain-based learning'... 'holistic education'.                                           

The functions of the two hemispheres are integrated by way of large interconnecting nerve fibers - the 'commisures' - which make up the 'corpus collosum'. The interconnectedness of the cerebral hemispheres  results in the activation of the brain as a whole... the brain's holistic response to incoming stimuli.e. 'holistic learning'. Holistic learning is effective because it is based on natural interest... meaningful motivation...('prefrontal lobes')... and therefore creative and adaptive.

 The global functioning of the brain results from the interdependent functioning of the two cerebral hemispheres.

The physiological basis for the brain's natural holistic functioning is the interactivity of the two 'cerebral hemispheres' located on either side of the brain's central core which extends down to the spinal cord and together weigh between three and four pounds.

 Up until the 19th century, it was believed that the cerebral hemispheres were symmetrical and that each was a mirror image of the other. This traditional view of the brain was first challenged with a medical report presented in 1836 when the French medical doctor, Marc Dax, published the findings of his clinical studies of brain damaged patients. His findings indicated that there was a correlation between damage to the left hemisphere and loss of speech or 'aphasia'. There were no cases of aphasia when the right hemisphere was damaged. On the basis of these findings, Dax concluded that the speech function is controlled by the left hemisphere.

Dax suggested that each hemisphere of the brain controls different functions. Little attention was paid to his report until twenty five years later his findings were corroborated by the French surgeon and neuro-anatomist, Paul Broca. Broca's name was used to designate the region of the left cerebral hemisphere which is associated with the speech function - 'Broca's area'. Designation of Broca's area to speech led to further attempts to assign different brain functions to specific brain areas  i.e. ‘localization'. It turned out later that as a method of study, localization was too simplistic for the understanding of brain functioning.

It wasn’t until the middle of the twentieth century that a new approach to the study of brain functioning was made possible..

By the middle of the twentieth century a surgical procedure had been devised to alleviate the seizures of epileptic patients. The operation was known as 'commissurotomy,' severing of the commissures, the fibers which connect the two hemispheres.The procedure involved the severing of the largest band of fibers connecting the two cerebral hemispheres i.e. ‘corpus callosum’. When the right and left hemispheres were disconnected the brain functioned normally but with subtle changes under specific experimental conditions. In the l960s and l970s the 'split-brain procedure' was utilised as an experimental system by Dr. Roger Sperry at the California Institute of Technology in his left brain/right brain research. Sperry showed that each of the two hemispheres is associated with the processing of information related to unique brain functions. Each of the two hemispheres processes separate information. Specialization of the hemispheres, 'hemisphericity' is based on the way in which incoming stimuli are processed. The left hemisphere or 'left brain' is associated with analytic detail, verbal expression, ability to articulate, critical and logical thinking... characterised by a logical, sequential mode of processing stimuli. It is engaged in those mental activites which deal with words, numbers, and language - verbal expression and articulation, thinking skills of criticism, logic and analysis. The right hemisphere is characterised by an intuitive, holistic, simultaneous, and parallel mode of processing. It is engaged in those mental activities which deal with images, visual patterns, and spatial relationships. right brain is associated with intuition, wholistic images, synthesis... The functions of the hemispheres are integrated by way of interconnecting fibers, the commissures, including the large corpus callosum which is engaged in the relay of information between the two hemispheres. The interdependent and integrated functioning of the left and right hemispheres accounts for the brain's potential for learning.

 So-called 'hemispheric specialization' is particularly significant for brain-based learning theory and holistic education. 

Sperry explored how nerve circuits grow to specific places in the brain.Understanding how nerves grow is fundamental;

 The brain is structured by the genetic code.

The brain's potential for learning is a function of the interdependent and integrated functioning of the left and right hemispheres. Hemispheric specialization is integrated by way of the large interconnecting fiber, the 'corpus callosum,' which functions in the relay of information between the two hemispheres. Interaction between the two results in the processing of the information as a whole. This results in the integral functioning of the brain as a whole. The activity of the brain as a whole involves more than the sum of its individual parts. The brain perceives and processes parts and wholes simultaneously. Brain research indicates that parts and wholes interact. The interactivity of the two hemispheres constitutes the physiological basis for the brain's natural wholistic perspective. The brain can deal with the interconnected, interpenetrating 'holographic' world. The part contains the whole and the whole contains the parts. All knowledge is embedded in other knowledge. The interconnections between various parts of the brain make this possible. The brain is described as 'holographic' or 'global' or 'interconnected.' For education it is crucial to understand the global nature of the functioning of the brain.

The two specialized hemispheres are connected by way of interconnecting nerve fibers called the 'commissures'. The largest band of commisures - the corpus callosum - functions in the relay of information between the two hemispheres. Its functioning allows for the interaction of the specialized functions of the hemispheres. Interaction between the hemispheres results in the integration of their functions. Interaction and integration of the cerebral hemispheres is the physiological basis for the brain's ability to process information which relates to specific brain functions and at the same time to its function as a whole.  

The brain's potential for learning is a function of the interdependent and integrated functioning of the left and right hemispheres.           

 (Roger Sperry, "The Growth of Nerve Circuits," Scientific American 201, (1959): 68-75)

The learning function of the brain is enhanced by challenge and inhibited by threat. Under perceived threat, connections in the brain are interrupted and the learning functions are 'downshifted.' The brain needs rest as well as stimulation. "In the waking state, deep metabolic rest helps the brain experience a variety of different states of activity and excitement indicative of a general state of alertness." (31) States of arousal are closely linked to states of consciousness - creative states, meditative state, dreaming, rationality (being functional and effective in the world.) "Effective learning involves alternation of several states of arousal." They are influenced by physical wellbeing and emotions. In each state of consciousness, a different part of the brain is dominant, but the brain functions as a whole. The activity of the brain as a whole involves more than the sum of its individual parts. The brain perceives and processes parts and wholes simultaneously.

Much of learning occurs in "a random, nonlogical and unplanned way... through learner activity." (Leslie Hart, L.A. (1987) "Human Brain and Human Learning" p.6  (Piaget conviction... children are constantly engaged in the process of making sense of things. "Like detectives, they investigate, reason, question, fantasize, and experiment in an attempt to understand what people do and how things work." (Cowan , P.A. 1978 "Piaget with feeling: Cognitive , Social and Emotional Dimensions. New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston.) (Postman, N and C. Weingartner. 1969 "Teaching as a Subversive Activity." New York:

The human brain is a social brain (Gazzaniga, M. 1985 "The Social Brain: Discovering the Networks of the Mind" New York: Basic Books.) We have a brain-based drive to belong to a group and to relate to others. Contributing to safety and security, friendship and companionship are important for reducing threat.

...thrives on complexity and learns by programs.

Arthur Koestler (1972 "The Roots of Coincidence" London: Hutchinson) coined the word 'holon' which means that everything is a part of something bigger and is itself made up of parts.

 Since the 1940s techniques have been developed for studying individual nerve cells. They have revolutionized the neural sciences and made it possible to analyze neuronal processes of increasing complexity. We have a good understanding of the biophysical transmission of nerve impulses along the nerve cells and their transmission to neigbouring nerve cells across the synapse which connects them.

The brain is a cybernetic system... a hermeneutic device... structurally and dynamically complex... creates reality.

references:

 Eric R. Kandel and Robert D. Hawkins "The Biological Basis of Learning and Individuality" Scientific American September 1992 79-86

   (Hart 1983, Luria 1975, McClean 1975 Pribram 1971) This is done at a very high rate of speed (Hart 1975). Hart (1983)

 

Renate Nummela and Tennes M. Rosengren "What's Happening in Students' Brains May Redefine Teaching." Educational Leadership May 1986

Needs based education recognises the importance of growth through learning... i.e. mature growth as 'self-actualisation' and the expression of understanding - 'self-expression' - in meaningful communication or 'functional language'.

Implications for education... brain-compatible teaching Teaching methods which are based on natural brain functioning are described as 'brain compatible'. Brain compatible teaching methodologies acknowledge the functions of the brain as a complex organ of learning. They operate on the premise that the aim of education is to facilitate optimal brain functioning or 'optimalearning'. Optimalearning results from a design of curriculum which integrates the different areas of human knowledge i.e. the 'sciences', the 'humanities' and the 'arts'. Creative curriculum design facilitates the learner's ability to accept ambiguity, to ask questions, to search for connections, relationships and patterns, and to resolve problems i.e. 'active processing'. Learning as active processing is enhanced by challenge and inhibited by threat. Effective learning depends on the ability to convert threat into challenge... make appropriate decisions for creative or 'adaptive' behaviour...  It is crucial to understand the global nature of the functioning of the brain... parts and wholes interact.  The learning function of the brain is as natural as the breathing function of the lungs.

 In the wholistic paradigm for teaching, emphasis is placed on learning and the learner's intrinsic motives for learning. An understanding of the learning process is based on the consideration of the learner from a wholistic perspective of the human organism as a social organism.

 The brain can deal with the interconnected, interpenetrating 'holographic' world. The part contains the whole and the whole contains the parts. All knowledge is embedded in other knowledge. The interconnections between various parts of the brain make this possible. The brain is described as 'holographic' or 'global' or 'interconnected.'

Each of the two hemispheres (brain laterality) processes separate information but at the same time because of the interaction they are processing the information as a whole. The interactivity of the two hemispheres constitutes the physiological basis for the brain's natural holistic perspective. (Hand 1984, Hart 1975)

Education for development of intelligence depends on the provision of environmental conditions which stimulate the natural brain function as a meaning maker. Meaningful learning is based on human needs for personal development to self-actualisation. Self-actualisation is the real aim of education for responsible 'freedom' i.e. 'holistic education' Holistic education is education based on motives for human behaviour or 'human needs'. Human needs include basic psychological needs for self-esteem -'ego needs' - and spiritual needs for 'ego-transcendance' - 'metaneeds'.

 

The rationale for holistic education is based on the understanding of the brain and its interrelated functions as a 'meaning maker', a 'parallel processor' and a 'pattern detector'.

"Enhanced learning depends on the reconceptualization of teaching - one based on a knowledge of brain functioning." (Donna Jean Carter ASCD President, 1990-1991. Caine, Renate Nummela and Geoffrey Caine. "Making Connections: Teaching and the Human Brain." Alexandria, Virginia: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development, 1991. page vi)

Teacher attributes for effective learning  The natural functions of the brain are activated by specific teacher characteristics or 'attributes'. Teacher attributes are processed as subtle unconscious signals based on the teacher's true inner state of 'personality congruence'. Personality traits of  congruence... the congruent teacher expresses genuine feelings and helps the learner to take charge of their own learning, to engage actively in processing their own experience and to develop their own personal meanings through a process of reflection and contemplation or 'meditation'. Meditation is a cognitive process of a higher order which involves the creation of new understanding and brings about change which becomes personally relevant i.e. 'metacognition'. Teachers' attributes are discerned and processed unconsciously by the learner as peripheral stimuli. Pertipheral stimuli have a beneficial impact on learning if they relate appropriately to the importance and value of what is being taught. Beneficial attributes provide an emotional climate which is marked by stability, familiarity and mutual respect. The acceptance of learners' feelings and attitudes encourages them to engage in metacognitive approaches to their learning activities. When teachers become sincerely supportive and enthusiastic they engage learners' interest in their own learning. Teaching becomes multifaceted and increases in effectiveness.

Importance of rich learning environment  The effective teacher provides a rich learning environment and orchestrates all the dimensions of parallel processing. The learner is immersed in a multitude of complex and interactive experiences and allowed to engage the various senses - visual, tactile, auditory. Learning activities are designed to reflect the complexity of 'real life' experience. They are made variable enough to attract individual interests. Approaches to learning become cooperative and depend on social interaction. Complex and meaningful activities are incorporated into classroom demonstrations, projects, field trips, visual imagery, performances, stories, drama, discussion, lectures, discussions. They become part of a larger experience. Visual materials in such as charts and illustrations are organized to reflect changes in the learning focus. The effective teacher provides conditions which create a learning environment that is non-threatening but challenging. An effective learning environment facilitates the brain's natural capacity to make connections i.e. the mental state of 'relaxed alertess'. In a state of relaxed alertness, the learner is able to reorganize their learning materials in ways which are meaningful to them

Meaningful learning is personally valuable and becomes the source of motivation for continued learning (see 'problem of motivation

 See Caine's Brain/ Mind: Learning Principles in Action

  The human brain is a social brain which has evolved with the specialized capacity for making meaning of experience or meaningful learning or 'experiential learning' - a natural function of detecting relationships and making connections. Experiential learning is meaningful learning required for adaptive behaviour (adaptability).   

 "As a product of human evolution through natural selection, the brain can best be understood as an organ of learning, adapted for the survival of the species". (Gerald Fischbach, "Mind and Brain", Scientific American, 267: 3, Sept 1992, 48.)                                                                                                                                  

 

 human organism as a social organism which depends on creative intelligence for adaptability and survival...

  creative intelligence as a function of morality...        

  curiosity, cognition, intuition...          cognition and learning... 

learning and subconscious emotional forces...   

subconscious and motivation...

motivation and personal development...

 

intuition and holistic perception...

three layered or 'triune' brain

 BIOLOGY OF THE WHOLISTIC FUNCTIONING OF THE BRAIN: CEREBRAL HEMISPHERES   

optimal learning...

implications for education...

references...

"The brain is best understood in terms of three functioning units: 1.'automatic response to the complexity of stimuli in its search for meaning in the complex environment in which it is immersed... 'alertness' , information processing or thinking'...  intelligence and action." (Restak The Brain)

The brain is the organ of the 'mind'.  The mind is the manifestation of the workings of the brain - a biological system.

"Brain and 'mind' evolved together. Language created the selection pressure under which emerged the human brain and the consciousness of self."(Popper K. and John Eccles. The Self and Its Brain. New York, London: Springer International, 1979 13)

Creative intelligence combines the understanding of reason with the wisdom of compassion.

Creative intelligence is a function of development morality i.e. 'moral development'  Survival of the human species depends on the capacity to make meaning of the environment or 'learn' and to retain what is learned or 'remember'. Learning and memory are functions of complex information processing - an instinctive capacity of the 'organ of learning' or 'meaning maker' i.e. 'brain'. The human brain automatically responds as a whole to the complexity of the environment in which it is immersed - a result of 'brain evolution'. The 'holistic response' of the brain involves the simultaneous processing of many incoming stimuli... multitudinous stimuli... which deal with body functioning and health maintenance as well as the intellect and the emotions. Integrated brain functioning leads to behaviour which is creative and productive or 'adaptive'. Adaptive behaviour depends on the brain's capacity to learn from the complexities of experience i.e. 'experiential learning' or 'meaningful learning'. Meaningful learning or 'natural learning' is a function of accurate evaluation and intelligent planning for action or 'decision making' i.e. 'intuition'. Intuition is an emergent property of the holistic or 'global' response of the developed brain. Development of the human brain depends on social and cultural conditions which foster the capacity for 'socialisation' based on character development' or moral development'. Moral development is development of the moral or 'spiritual' dimension of human nature -  the highest 'consciousness state'. 'Morality' is a function of spirituality.

Creative intelligence in terms of curiosity, cognition and intuition. Creative intelligence is defined in terms of three interrelated functions: first, alertness to the complexity of incoming environmental stimuli or 'information' which arouses the desire for inquiry and understanding i.e. 'curiosity'; second, the process of gaining knowledge through the processing of information i.e. thinking or 'cognition'; third, intelligent decision making for responsive action which is creative and adaptive i.e. 'intuition'.

Curiosity stimulates or awakens cognition and cognition activates intuition. 

Cognition is a function of information processing or 'learning'  Cognition is the active processing of information through analysis which exposes relationships within the complexities of a system so that new connections are discovered. Cognition yields 'empirical knowledge' which provides useful information for purposeful decisions and effective adaptation. It must be quick and effective to be beneficial to the organism. The brain's instinctive drive to make meaning of the environment or 'learn' is the driving force behind the brain's highly developed mental processes - the natural thinking or 'cognitive skills' of 'natural learning'. Natural learning is a function of physiological functions involved in the continuity of information from one part of the brain to another - 'information flow': the propagation of electrochemical signals or 'nerve impulses' along nerve cells or 'neurons' and their transmission across the connecting points between them, the 'synapses'. Modification of synaptic connections - 'synapse modification' - results in changes in existing neural networks and the creation of new ones and this accounts for the brain's potential for change or 'neuroplasticity'. The physiological functions of learning constitute the basis of mental functioning or 'mind': interrelated processes such as remembering, separating and comparing mental data i.e. 'analysis'; organizing, integrating, evaluating, detecting relationships and making connections i.e. 'synthesis'.

Learning involves simultaneous processing of complex stimuli... role of subconscious interpretation of environmental stimuli... cognitive function of the brain depends on subconscious emotional forces...  Many incoming environmental  stimuli are perceived and processed simultaneously. The brain responds consciously on a set of environmental stimuli- 'field of focused attention' - while responding subconsciously to environmental stimuli which are peripheral to it - 'peripheral stimuli'. The brain rapidly processes the information - organizes, analyzes, integrates and evaluates in order to make quick decisions for purposeful adaptation to changing conditions. The brain rapidly processes environmental stimuli in the field of focused attention responding on the conscious' level of awareness - the so-called 'intellectual level' - within the context of peripheral stimuli which are perceived and processed  unconsciously at the 'subconscious' level of awareness - the so-called 'emotional' level. The brain's conscious or 'intellectual' interpretation of the focused stimuli depends on its subconscious or 'emotional' interpretation of the peripheral stimuli. Stimuli in the field of focused attention are consciously processed within the context of the subconscious emotional interpretation of the peripheral stimuli. The subconscious emotional meanings attached to peripheral stimuli determine the way in which the brain consciously processes information in the field of focused attention. The conscious interpretation of information depends on the subconscious interpretation of peripheral stimuli. Processed information is rapidly encoded in the short term memory for storage in the long term memory.

The brain's subconscious evaluation of the environmental stimuli determines the individual's interpretation and motives for behaviour i.e. 'motivation'.

Subconscious interpretation of environmental stimuli (emotional forces operate) is the source of motivation Motivation for behaviour is either creative ('adaptive') or destructive ('non-adaptive') depending on the accuracy of the brain's subconscious evaluation of the environment. The type of motivation depends on the individual's level of personality development i.e. 'motivational type' or personality type'. Motivational type depends on level of moral development or 'moral intelligence'. Decisions are 'intelligent' if they lead to responsible action and adaptive behaviour; they are 'unintelligent' if they lead to behaviour which is irresponsible and non-adaptive i.e. 'human wickedness' or 'evil'. Intelligence is a function of 'consciousness state' ... derived from effect of subconscious emotional forces on the learning process.

Moral intelligence is a function of inner perception of the essential... 'clarity of perception' or 'perceptual sensitivity' i.e. 'intuition'. 

Motivational state is a function of emotional growth or 'personal development'... 'sociocognitive stage'... The subconscious interpretation of environmental stimuli is determined by emotional states or developmental stage which the individual has reached i.e. 'socio-cognitive stage'.  Socio-cognitive stages of development constitute the hierarchy of 'moral stages' during development of conscience - the source of 'human values'. Human values are required for adaptation of the organism as a social organism i.e. social adaptation or 'social intelligence'.  Development of social intelligence depends on education in environmental conditions - both physical or 'material' and social or 'cultural' - which foster development to spiritual maturity as 'mature growth' or 'self-actualisation'. Self-actualisation engages the human potential for creativity and productivity or 'work' and involves  development of 'moral consciousness' or 'conscience'. Conscience is the human 'soul' - the source of creative intelligence. The development of conscience is a function of integration of the human personality or 'human nature'. Human nature is defined in terms of human values for moral behaviour or 'morality' and a function of moral development.

Intuition is immediate cognition (flash of insight) by the brain as a whole ... involves 'holistic perception'  Intuition is the brain's natural capacity to integrate complex environmental stimuli by comparing, categorizing, detecting patterns and creating connections... in order to make accurate evaluations and  reach conclusions quickly and effectively... the brain's pattern seeking capacity. In its effort to detect patterns the brain automatically responds as a whole i.e. 'holistic perception'. The instinctive holistic response of the brain to incoming stimuli results in the creative process of 'intuition'... making connections between parts and wholes... reaching a conclusion and making a decision without conscious awareness of all the facts. Intuition is an act of imagination... of creativity... involves the emotions as well as the intellect. The intuitive process involves the immediate processing by the whole brain... is influenced by emotional interpretations of environmental stimuli. Intuition involves the subconscious 'emotional' level of brain functioning ('emotional intelligence') as well as the conscious 'intellectual' level ('intellectual intelligence'). Intuition is enhanced with the integration of the 'ego-self' with the 'spiritual self' ('personality integration') ... 'holiness'... 'health' or 'wholeness' i.e. 'wellness'. The result is learning which is meaningful, effective, creative and  adaptive. In the absence of personality integration the individual can see all there is to be seen of the surface features of phenomena... the sum total of what has already materialized... but is incapable of penetrating below the surface to the essential...of visualizing what is not apparent. Such an individual can see the details but not the whole; can  see the trees but not the forest. Their limited perception leads to limited recognition of 'reality'... lack of  intuition or 'vision' and limited cognition or 'incomplete cognition' which requires the imagination to calculate and combine the existing elements of their reality and to infer their future operation i.e. 'non-holistic learning'. The result of non-holistic learning can be meaningless, non-effective, destructive and therefore 'non-adaptive'.

Holistic learning is global learning or 'optimal learning' ('optimalearning') The brain is driven by the instinctive need to search for meaning in the complexity of the environment in which it is immersed. The brain's function as 'meaning maker' of experience drives its natural capacities for learning based on the brain's natural rules for meaningful learning is 'brain-based learning'. Brain-based learning is learning which is based on the brain's natural functions or 'rules' for meaningful learning i.e. 'brain functions'... comparing, patterning and categorizing.  brain-based learning engages the global functioning of the brain.... i.e. optimal learning or 'optimalearning'.The global functioning  of the brain results from the interdependent functioning of the two cerebral hemispheres. The functions of the two hemispheres are integrated by way of large interconnecting nerve fibers - the 'commisures' - which make up the 'corpus collosum'. The interconnectedness of the cerebral hemispheres  results in the activation of the brain as a whole... the brain's holistic response to incoming stimuli.e. 'holistic learning'. Holistic learning is effective because it is based on natural interest... meaningful motivation...('prefrontal lobes')... and therefore creative and adaptive.  .

For education it is crucial to understand the global nature of the functioning of the brain... or 'mind'.

Implications for education The brain can deal with the interconnected, interpenetrating 'holographic' world. The part contains the whole and the whole contains the parts. All knowledge is embedded in other knowledge. The interconnections between various parts of the brain make this possible. The brain is described as 'holographic' or 'global' or 'interconnected.' For education it is crucial to understand the global nature of the functioning of the brain 

Education for development of intelligence depends on the provision of environmental conditions which stimulate the natural brain function as a meaning maker. Meaningful learning is based on human needs for personal development to self-actualisation. Self-actualisation is the real aim of education for responsible 'freedom' i.e. 'holistic education' Holistic education is education based on motives for human behaviour or 'human needs'. Human needs include basic psychological needs for self-esteem -'ego needs' - and spiritual needs for 'ego-transcendance' - 'metaneeds'.  Needs based education recognises the importance of growth through learning... i.e. mature growth as 'self-actualisation' and the expression of understanding - 'self-expression' - in meaningful communication or 'functional language'. ... importance of 'freedom'.

  "...It is in fact nothing short of a miracle that the modern methods of instruction have not yet entirely strangled the holy curiosity of inquiry; for this delicate little plant, aside from stimulation, stands mainly in need of freedom; without this it goes to wrack and ruin without fail." (Albert Einstein)

                                     

As a product of human evolution through natural selection, the thinking skills of the brain can best be understood in terms of behavioral adaptation and survival. The survival of the individual depends on meaningful learning and adaptive behavior. In the evolution of the human species, survival of the human organism has depended on the natural selection of brain functions which enabled the individual to derive meaning from environnmental stimuli. Brain functions which resulted in effective thinking produced adaptive behavior and subsequent survival. Brain functions which produced non-effective thinking produced non-adaptive behavior and subsequent non-survival. The human species has evolved a brain with the specialized capacity for meaningful learning required for adaptive behavior

"As a product of millions of years of evolution through natural selection, the specialized brain functions have ensured the survival of the human species. The functions of the human brain are the natural outcome of millions of years of evolutionary process through natural selection. The mental functions of learning and memory are natural outcomes of the human evolutionary process of behavioural adaptation. In the course of human evolution, survival of the human species has depended on behavioural adaptation. Human adaptive behaviour has depended on brain development. The evolution of the human species is concurrent with the evolution of the human brain. This is in contrast to the evolution of other organisms whose survival and adaptation have depended on the development and specialization of various other organs and other forms of instinctive behaviour". (Eric R. Kandel and Robert D. Hawkins "The Biological Basis of Learning and Individuality" Scientific American September 1992 79-86)

   The brain's pattern seeking capacity, hence its ability to think, is influenced by the nature of the peripheral stimuli in the environment - the physical, social, cultural and emotional environments. Complex environmental stimuli include those in the field of focused attention and those which are peripheral to it. The brain processes environmental stimuli which are in the field of focused attention and at the same time it processes those stimuli which are peripheral to it. In processing information from the environment, the brain focuses on specific stimuli and responds on the conscious level of awareness. Many environmental stimuli are perceived unconsciously by the brain and are processed at the subconscious level. The brain responds to peripheral stimuli at the subconscious level of awareness. It rapidly processes environmental stimuli in the context of stimuli which are peripheral to the field of focused attention. The stimuli in focus are interpreted in the context of the peripheral stimuli. The meanings attached to the peripheral stimuli determine the context in which the brain consciously processes environmental stimuli which are in focus. The brain's conscious interpretation of the focused stimuli depends on its subconscious interpretation of the peripheral stimuli. The brain consciously remembers, organizes, analyzes, integrates and evaluates the information in terms of the contextual framework of the subconsciously perceived peripheral stimuli.

The brain's evaluation of the environment determines the individual's behavior. Depending on the accuracy of the brain's evaluation of the environment, the individual's subsequent behavior is adaptive or non-adaptive. The brain's capacity to integrate complex environmental stimuli results in effective thinking and adaptive behavior. Overall, in the instinctive drive to derive meaning from a complex environment, the brain focuses of a set of environmental stimuli, rapidly processes information in the context of peripheral stmuli, rapidly encodes the information in the short term memory for storage in the long term memory, rapidly processes the information by organizing, analyzing, integrating and evaluating in order to make a quick decision for purposeful adaptation to a changing environment. Quick and effective thinking results in the individual's adaptive behavior. Behavioral adaptation depends on an effective thinking process which involves the combined functioning of intellectual, affective and creative states of the 'mind'. As the manifestation of the natural thinking functions of the brain, the mind perceives reality - social and cultural reality - according to the individual's level of consciousness or level of awareness. Referred to as the mind's 'modes of knowing', the different levels of consciousness determine the individual's sense of identity. The mind's perception of itself determines the individual's thinking and perception of reality. It determines the individual's perception of reality in a social and cultural context. The total and integrated functioning of the brain results in a wholistic perception of reality. The brain-based wholistic perception of reality forms the basis for adaptive behavior. The wholistic learning process involves the 'orchestration' of the so-called mental 'powers' - imagination, intuition, associations, questioning, synthesizing, thinking skills. The human brain is characterized by a natural capacity for observation and inquiry, essential for the learning process which is necessary for survival of the individual in a complex environment. Constituting the human being's natural 'curiosity', the brain's natural capacity for observation and inquiry are characteristic features of the specialized human brain of the socialized human being. Survival of the human species depends on natural human curiosity and the natural development of critical and creative thinking. It depends on the development of the individual's critical attitude about the nature of the environment. Survival depends on the development of the individual's 'critical consciousness' in the context of a cultural environment. The natural functions of the brain are concerned with its special ability to search for meaning in the environment. As a product of millions of years of evolution through natural selection, the specialized brain functions have ensured the survival of the human species. For its millions of years of survival as a species, the human being has depended on the brain's ability to search for meaning in the environment. The brain's efficient evaluation of the environmental context of experience has depended on the natural selection of its characteristic complex thinking functions. The natural thinking processes constitute the brain's natural capacity for processing complex stimuli in the physical, social and cultural environment. 'Brain-based' wholistic learning is compatible with the natural functioning of the brain. It involves those natural processing functions of the brain which constitute thinking and acquiring knowledge in the act of 'cognition'. Brain based education involves the natural learning functions of the brain and brain-based learning involves the natural 'thinking' functions of the brain.

 the term 'synapse'Introduced in 1897 is derived from the Greek word 'synapsis' meaning 'to clasp'or 'contact'

Freud called the cell-to-cell junctions between the nerve cells 'contact barriers'.

References 

 Allman, C. RWilliam 1989. Apprentices of Wonder: Inside the Neural Network Revolution. New York, London: Bantam Books.

Caine, Renate Nummela and Geoffrey Caine 1991. Making Connections: Teaching and the Human Brain. Alexandria, Virginia: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development.

Campbell, Jeremy 1982. Grammatical Man: Information, Entropy, Language and Life. New York: Simon and Schuster Chapter 16 "The Brain as Cat on a Hot Tin Roof and Other Fallacies", 189-199

Changeux, Jean-Pierre 1985. Neuronal Man :The Biology of Mind. New York: Pantheon Books.

Eccles, John Carew 1952. The Neurophysiological Basis of Mind: The Principles of Neurophysiology. Oxford: Clarendon Press. Chapter VI Prolonged Functional Changes (Plasticity) in the Nervous System p. 193-227 Section C . "Synaptic Activity and Plasticity", 203-211.

 Eccles, John Carew 1957. The Physiology of Nerve Cells. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins.

Eccles, John Carew and Daniel N Robinson 1984. The Wonder of Being Human: Our Brain and Our Mind (chapter 9). London: Collier Macmillan Publishers.

 FischbachGerald, Mind and Brain, Scientific American 276: 3, September 1992

 Hill, Winfred 1990. Learning: A Survey of Psychological Interpretations (Chapter 3) New York: Harper and Row.

Hobson, J. Allan  The Dreaming Brain. London: Penguin Books, 1988, 100-133)

 Hunt, Morton. 1982. The Universe Within: A New Science Explores the Human Mind. New York: Simon & Schuster.

Leahey, Thomas and Harris Richard 1989. Human Legarning (chapter 10) New Jersey: Prentice Hall.

Ornstein, Robert and Richard Ornstein 1984. The Amazing Brain. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company.

Penrose, Roger, 1989. Emperor's New Mind: Concerning Computers Minds and the Laws of Physics (Chapter 9), New York: Oxford University Press.

Popper K. and John Eccles. The Self and Its Brain. New York, London: Springer International, 1979 

Richard Restak, The Brain: The Last Frontier, an Exploration of the Human Mind. New York: Doubleday and Company, 1979.

quiet miracles of the brain by joel swerdlow national geographic june 1955

corpus callosum half a billion neurons

 

 . The prefontal lobes: biological basis for intrinsic motivation

Human characteristic of motivation required for adaptation and survival  

 

As a function of the development of the prefrontal lobes, motivation is a characteristically human capacity which is necessary for adaptive behaviour and survival of the human organism as a social organism.

Human survival depends on the human capacity for motivation. Like any other biological organism, the human organism is intrinsically motivated for behaviour which is adaptive to its environment. The human organism as a social organism is similarly motivated for behaviour which is adaptive to its social environment. Adaptive behaviour depends on the accuracy of the individual's perception of the social environment and on the way in which the individual thinks about it. Accuracy of the individual's knowledge and understanding depends on the unconscious motivations and thought patterns. The individual's thought patterns determine the accuracy of evaluation which in turn determines the degree of adaptability of behaviour. Human survival depends on the capacity for adaptation to a changing social environment and social adaptability depends on the capacity for motivation to work                                   

The prefrontal lobes are responsible for initiative and the maintenance of the proper balance between actions and restraint - sustained attention and the resulting delayed responses and rewards.... motivation. The proper functioning of the prefrontal lobes is the biological basis for the ability to concentrate for long periods on demanding tasks. It is the basis for the characteristically human ability for productivity or 'work'.

Development of balanced personality is a function of the proper development of prefrontal lobes As a function of the development of the prefrontal lobes, motivation is a characteristically human capacity which is necessary for adaptive behaviour and survival of the human organism as a social organism.

 The frontal lobes play an important part in the development of balanced personality. Associated with development of the human personality, frontal lobe development is a function of the unique human capacity for 'motivation'. As a unique feature of human personality development, motivation is the characteristically human capacity to perform actions which produce delayed responses and rewards. Motivation is the expression of the capacity for initiative and sustained attention and concentration of one's attention on a goal. As a capacity related to causes of action and motives for behaviour, the human capacity for motivation is required for adaptive behaviour and for survival. It is the extreme front part of the frontal lobes - the prefontal lobes - which is responsible for motivation. Motivation is an intrinsic function of the development of the 'prefontal lobes' of the human brain

 In the wholistic paradigm for teaching, emphasis is placed on learning and the learner's intrinsic motives for learning. An understanding of the learning process is based on the consideration of the learner from a wholistic perspective of the human organism as a social organism.

The human organism The human organism is a social organism which belongs to the primate order of the human species - knowing man or 'homo sapiens'. One of the most striking features which differentiates homo sapiens from its ancestral species - upright man or 'homo erectus' is the high forehead. The high forehead of homo sapiens is associated with the development of the frontal lobes of the brain. Evolution of the frontal lobes must have occurred very fast in the Middle Pleistocene era.

 Intrinsic motivation required for adaptation and survival The frontal lobes play an important part in the development of balanced personality. Associated with development of the human personality, frontal lobe development is a function of the unique human capacity for 'motivation'. As a unique feature of human personality development, motivation is the characteristically human capacity to perform RED actions which produce delayed responses and rewards. Motivation is the expression of the capacity for initiative and sustained attention and concentration of one's attention on a goal. As a capacity related to causes of action and motives for behaviour, the human capacity for motivation is required for adaptive behaviour and for survival. It is the extreme front part of the frontal lobes - the prefontal lobes - which is responsible for motivation. Motivation is an intrinsic function of the development of the 'prefontal lobes' of the human brain.

The prefrontal lobes are responsible for initiative and the maintenance of the proper balance between actions and restraint - sustained attention and the resulting delayed responses and rewards. The proper functioning of the prefrontal lobes is the biological basis for the ability to concentrate for long periods on demanding tasks. It is the basis for the characteristically human ability for productivity or 'work'.             

   BIOLOGY OF THE WHOLISTIC FUNCTIONING OF THE BRAIN: CEREBRAL HEMISPHERES  The brain is made up of two interconnected 'cerebral hemispheres'  together weighing between three to four pounds. These are located on either side of the brain's central core which extends down to the spinal cord.  The physiological basis for the brain's natural holistic functioning is the interactivity  of  the two 'cerebral hemispheres'.  

                                                                                                                                                                                                      

previous to 19th century the cerebral hemispheres were considered to be mirror images...

hemispheric specialisation...   Roger Sperry and split-brain research...

holistic perception..

 

  Brain anatomy  The brain is made up of two interconnected 'cerebral hemispheres' together weighing between three to four pounds. These are located on either side of the brain's central core which extends down to the spinal cord. It was believed until the 19th century that the cerebral hemispheres were symmetrical and that each was a mirror image of the other. This traditional view of the brain was challenged in a medical report presented in 1836 by the French medical doctor, Marc Dax. His clinical studies of brain damaged patients indicated that loss of speech  'aphasia' was correlated with damage to the left hemisphere. No loss of speech resulted when the right hemisphere was damaged. On the basis of these findings, Dax concluded that the speech function is controlled by the left hemisphere and that each hemisphere of the brain controls different functions. Although given little attention at the time, Marc Dax's report was corroborated twenty five years later... in 1861... by French surgeon and neuroanatomist Paul Broca.  Broca's name was used to designate the region of the left cerebral hemisphere which is associated with speech  - 'Broca's area'. Designation of Broca's area to speech led to further attempts were made to assign other different brain functions to specific brain areas. It turned out later that as an approach to an understanding of the brain, localization of brain functions was  considered to be too simplistic.  

It wasn’t until the middle of the twentieth century that a new approach to the study of brain functioning was made possible.

 Roger Sperry and 'split-brain' research ... In the 1940s and 1950s a new approach was made possible with the introduction of a surgical procedure devised to alleviate the seizures of epileptic patients. The procedure, known as 'commissurotomy', involved the severing of the fibers or 'commissures' connecting the two cerebral hemispheres. Severing the largest band of fibers, the corpus callosum, resulted in the the brain's normal functioning but with subtle changes of behaviour under specific experimental conditions. the 'split-brain procedure' provided an experimental system for the study of the functioning of the cerebral hemispheres. In the l960s and l970s the 'split-brain system' was utilised by Dr. Roger Sperry at the California Institute of Technology in his left brain/right brain research experiments in a study of brain functions . Sperry showed that each of the two hemispheres is specialized for unique brain functions and for the processing of information related to those functions.

 Roger Sperry "The Growth of Nerve Circuits," Scientific American 201, (1959): 68-75  Sperry explored how nerve circuits grow to specific places in the brain which is structured according to a  genetic code. Understanding how nerves grow is about as fundamental as things get in learning

The right and left hemispheres are each associated with unique functions... 'hemispheric specialisation' significant physiological basis of brain-based learning. 

Hemispheric specialisation The two specialized hemispheres are connected by way of interconnecting nerve fibers called the 'commissures'. The largest band of commisures - the corpus callosum - functions in the relay of information between the two hemispheres. Each of the two hemispheres processes separate information. Specialisation of the hemispheres, 'hemisphericity', is based on the way in which incoming stimuli are processed. The left hemisphere is characterised by a analytic detail, verbal expression, ability to articulate, critical and logical logical, sequential mode of processing stimuli or 'sequential thinking'. It is engaged in those mental activites which deal with words, numbers, and language - verbal expression and articulation, thinking skills of criticism, logic and analysis. The right hemisphere is characterised by an intuitive, holistic, simultaneous, and parallel mode of processing. It is engaged in those mental activities which deal with images, visual patterns, and spatial relationships. The brain's potential for learning is a function of the interdependent and integrated functioning of the left and right hemispheres. Hemispheric specialization is integrated by way of the large interconnecting fibers, the commissures, including the large 'corpus callosum' which functions in the relay of information between the two hemispheres. Interaction between the two results in the processing of the information as a whole. This results in the integral functioning of the brain as a whole. Its functioning allows for the interaction of the specialized functions of the hemispheres. Interaction between the hemispheres results in the integration of their functions. Interaction and integration of the cerebral hemispheres is the physiological basis for the brain's ability to process information which relates to specific brain functions and at the same time to its function as a whole.  

The brain has a natural capacity for perception of the whole or 'holistic perception' The brain perceives and processes parts and wholes simultaneously. The parts and wholes interact - the parts containthe whole and the whole contains the parts. It is the interconnectedness of the specialized hemispheres which provides for the integral functioning of the brain. The brain is activated as a whole. The brain processes wholes. The two brain hemispheres interact and the activity of the brain as a whole adds up to more than the sum of its parts. In its attempt to make meaning of the environment, the brain responds 'holistically' to environmental stimuli, perceiving and creating connections between parts and the whole. The brain has a natural capacity for 'holistic perception'. The brain's natural capacity for holistic perception is based on the interactivity of the two cerebral hemispheres via the corpus collosum. As a result of the interconnectedness of the hemispheres, the brain is activated as a whole and Its functioning is integrated. The brain's function as meaning maker is a natural physiological process of information processing  or 'learning'. The brain's potential for learning is based on the interdependent and integrated functioning of the left and right hemispheres. As the basis for the holistic functioning of the brain, the integrated functioning of the specialized  cerebral hemispheres is of paramount significance to a holistic brain-based learning theory.

The brain's potential for learning is a function of the interdependent and integrated functioning of the left and right hemispheres.         

Results of Sperry's work are particularly significant for education...

The activity of the brain as a whole involves more than the sum of its individual parts. The brain perceives and processes parts and wholes simultaneously. Brain research indicates that parts and wholes interact. The interactivity of the two hemispheres constitutes the physiological basis for the brain's natural wholistic perspective. The brain can deal with the interconnected, interpenetrating 'holographic' world. The part contains the whole and the whole contains the parts. All knowledge is embedded in other knowledge. The interconnections between various parts of the brain make this possible. The brain is described as 'holographic' or 'global' or 'interconnected.' For education it is crucial to understand the global nature of the functioning of the brain.

 Implications for education Interaction between the two results in the processing of the information as a whole... accounts for the integral functioning of the brain as a whole. The activity of the brain as a whole involves more than the sum of its individual parts. The brain perceives and processes parts and wholes simultaneously. Brain research indicates that parts and wholes interact. The interactivity of the two hemispheres constitutes the physiological basis for the brain's natural wholistic perspective.

The brain's potential for learning is a function of the interdependent and integrated functioning of the left and right hemispheres.

 It is crucial to understand the global nature of brain functioning or holistic perception. The physiological basis for the brain's natural capacity for holistic perception is specialization of the cerebral hemispheres (brain laterality) and their interaction. The brain's natural holistic functioning is based on the interactivity and the integrated functioning of the two cerebral hemispheres. Effective pedagogical methods account for the brain's capacity for the simultaneous perception of parts and wholes. Teaching and learning strategies account for the fact that the simultaneous perception of parts and wholes is the basis for understanding. The simultaneous perception of parts and wholes is necessary for the understanding of the interrelationships between the component parts of a whole and for the understanding of the parts to the whole. Teaching methods which account for the physiological basis of holistic thinking are brain-based and effective in the learning process. The global presentation of subject matter is conducive to the global functioning of the brain (global method)... 'brain-based learning'... 'holistic education'.

    references: Renate Nummela Caine and Geoffrey Caine, Making Connections Alexandria, Va. ASCD, 1991

 Fischbach, Gerald  "Mind and Brain", Scientific American, 267: 3, Sept 1992, 48.

     

 

                                                                    Three Brains in One: Three Layered Brain or ‘Triune’ Brain

Theme: The characteristic functions of the human brain are the natural outcome of millions of years of evolutionary process through natural selection. The brain is three-layered or 'triune'. The three major layers or 'brains' were established successively in human evolution... first the reptilian brain or 'R-complex', second the mammmalian brain or 'limbic system', and third the neo-mammalian brain or 'neocortex'. Each has a separate function and depending on the circumstances each can become dominant.  All three layers interact in the processing of information…  cognition or learning. The triune brain paradigm has forced a rethink of brain functioning or 'brain/mind'. 

 "As a product of human evolution through natural selection, the brain can best be understood as an organ of learning, adapted for the survival of the species". (Gerald Fischbach, Mind and Brain, Scientific American, 267: 3, Sept 1992, 48.)

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Dr. Paul McClean...   reptilian complex...   mammalian brain...   neo-mammalian brain or neocortex...  

implications for education...

      Evolutionary Development of the Brain: In the 1960s evolutionary neuroanatomist Dr. Paul MacLean, director of the Laboratory of Brain Evolution and Behaviour Behaviour of the National Institute of Mental Health in Maryland, was originally interested in philosophy and 'converted'  to the study of science and medecine while taking a course in the philosophy of science. He expanded on the work of James Papez and conducted research on the assumption that observations of the behaviour of animals are relevant to the understanding of the behaviour of humans. He studied the evolutionary development of the nervous system and described the human brain in terms of a three part concentric layered structure or 'triune brain’. Each of the three layers represents a distinct evolutionary stratum that has formed on top of the older layer formed before it. The oldest layer is the reptilian system or 'R-complex'; the second oldest is the paleomamalian stratum or 'limbic system'; the most recent is the neomammalian stratum or 'neocortex'. Each operates as its own brain system with distinct capacities functions for perceiving and responding to the environment. Although each layer has a separate function there are nerve connections between the three layers or ‘brains’ so they interact… are interconnected and interrelated.

       Reptilian brain or system or ‘R-complex’ is the oldest brain and makes up the entire brain mass in reptiles. Also known as the ‘primitive brain’, 'basal brian', 'archipallium', 'root brain' the R-complex consists of structures of the brain stem such as the medulla, pons, cerebellum, mesencephalon, the oldest basal nuclei - the globus pallidus, olfactory bulbs and basal ganglia, the reticular activating system and the midbrain. The functioning of the R-complex is activated when the organism perceives threat and the needs for survival and safety predominte. Functions of the R-complex are related to physical survival and autonomic functions associated with body maintenance…  digestion, reproduction, circulation, breathing, heartbeat, stress response, muscle control, balance also instinctive behaviour patterns of self-preservation… automatic 'primitive' behaviours associated with territoriality, ritualism, paranoia, social dominance, status maintenance aggression, tendency to follow precedent, awe for authority, social pecking order behaviour, compulsiveness, deception, prejudice and resistance to change. When the R-complex dominates the person becomes rigid, obsessive, compulsive, repetitive behaviour, does not learn from experience. This part of the brain is active, even in deep sleep

     Mammalian brain or 'limbic system' The second layer... middle part of the brain occupies the lower fifth of the brain...  'palleo-mammalian brain'...'limbic brain. the paleopallium or intermediate (old mammalian) brain... developed with the evolution of mammals. The 'mammalian brain' corresponds to the brain of most mammals, and especially the earlier ones. The mammalian brain is a brain 'system' which consists of a series of brain structures - hippocampus which functions in spatial memory, amygdala which functions in the association of events with emotion,  mammilary body, anterior thalamus, cingulate cortex and hypothalamus to which all the other parts are connected.. Together they form a cap or 'limbus' (Latin for shell or girdle 'ring' , 'forming a border around' or 'ring')  around the brainstem which contains the R-Complex.  With all its parts connected to the hypothalamus, it has extensive influence on human behavior. The limbic brain, like the R-complex, is concerned primarily with self-preservation, species-preservation and controls the autonomic nervous system. functions in primal activities related to defense ('fight or flight' fear response),  is concerned with emotions and instincts, feeding, fighting, fleeing, freezing sexual behaviour.   primary seat of emotions and feelings of fear, joy, rage, pleasure and pain, attention, protection and affective (emotion-charged) memories…. determines valence positive or negative feeling and salience...  what gets your attention; unpredictability, and creative behaviour.  and instincts, feeding, fighting, fleeing, and sexual behaviour...  activities related to the expression including emotions related to the attachment...protective and loving feelings and care of offspring. These become increasingly complex with interaction of the limbic system with the thinking part of the brain - the 'cerebral cortex' seat of thought and voluntary movement.. It has vast interconnections with the neocortex, so that brain functions are mixture of both.   Of particular significance is the role of the limbic system in sense perception and retention of learning or 'memory'. It monitors sensory input, converting it into appropriate modes for processing and directs it to the appropriate memory storage system. Neurochemicals in the limbic system are instrumental in the transfer of memory from short-term to long-term storage which takes thirty seconds…

     Cerebral cortex or 'neo-cortex' or cerebrum: The third layer cortex is divided into left and right hemispheres...left and right brain.  The left hemisphere linear, rational, and verbal and controls the right side of the body. The right hemisphere  spatial, abstract, musical and artistic controls the left side of the body. superior or rational is two millimeters in thickness and covers the two 'cerebral hemispheres'occupies five sixths of the brain (two thirds of the total brain mass) comprises almost the whole of the hemispheres and some subcortical neuronal groups…  known the 'neomammalian brain', 'neopallium', the 'neocortex' or the 'cerebral cortex'. The cerebral cortex is the latest evolutionary development of the brain... the distinctively primate and human layer... The cerebral cortex is involved with most mental activity, invention and abstract thought including spatial and mathematical thinking, meditating, dreaming, remembering, processing and decoding of sensory information..  The numerous morphological subdivisions are based on the numerous neurological functions - seat of language, speech, thought and sensory processing ...  information processing or 'thinking'... motor-control and associations.  Sensory-receiving areas and motor-control areas are well-defined. Areas involved with associative events are less well-defined.These include motor-control and some associative events.  Areas involved with associative events are less well-defined. The cerebral cortex is considered to be the structural and functional 'interface' between input of environmental stimuli and brain output.  

Implications for education  Previous to MacLean's work  it was assumed that the neocortex dominates the limbic and the reptilian brains.This assumption is discredited by the finding that the mental functions of the neo-cortex can be hijacked by the functions of the other two brain layers.

The interaction of the three brain layers forms the biological basis for the interaction of concepts, emotions and behaviours which together make up the natural learning process or ‘brain-based learning'..

 The result is a new working model or 'paradigm' with regards to the study of human behaviour and the learning process In the new paradigm...  holistic brain functioning is the basis for education of the person as a whole or 'holistic education'. 

Integration and coordination between the three brains is inadequate, a genetic problem in our species...  This has implications for human development.

Education for optimal human development is required for our species survival.

 References: MacLean, Paul The Triune Brain in Evolution: Role in Paleocerebral Function

 Notes: many esoteric spiritual traditions taught the same idea of three planes of consciousness and even three different brains. Gurdjieff for example referred to Man as a "three-brained being".  There was one brain for the spirit (neocortex) one for the soul (limbic), and one for the body (reptilian).  Similar ideas can be found in Kabbalah, in Platonism, and elsewhere,  chakras points along the spine correspond to nodes of consciousness, related in an ascending manner, from gross to subtle.

"The brain is best understood in terms of three functioning units: alertness, information processing, and action". (Restak The Brain)

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  Caine principles

 B. The traditional frames of reference for teaching are being challenged. The following principles and their implications for education constitute the theoretical foundation for new teaching methodologies of brain-based learning.

1. The brain is a 'parallel processor.' It performs many functions simultaneously - those involved with body functioning and health maintenance, thoughts and emotions. Implications: A good pedagogical method based on sound theoretical foundations should be able to orchestrate the various dimensions of the brain as a parallel processor.

2. Learning engages the entire physiology. Like any other organ of the human body, the brain is a complex physiological entity. The learning function of the brain is as natural as the breathing function of the lungs. The functioning of the brain and thus the learning capacity is affected by physiological factors which in turn are affected by nutrition, stress, state of mind, experiences etc. Implication: A pedagogy for brain-based learning should incorporate various topics which deal with physiological factors affecting the learning capacity such as stress management, nutrition, exercise, personal health etc.

3. The search for meaning is innate. "The search for meaning (making sense of our experiences)is survival-oriented and basic to the human brain." (see articles O'Keefe and Nadel 1978, Springer and Deutsch 1985,p.33) The search for meaning can be channeled and focused. It cannot be stopped. Implications: teaching methodology should focus on furnishing a learning environment which provides children with stability, familiarity, novelty, discovery, challenge. "Most of the creative methods used for teaching gifted students should be applied to all students."

4. The search for meaning occurs through 'patterning.' ( see articles of Laskoff 1987, Rosenfeld 1988, Nummela and Rosengren 1986, Hart 1983) The brain has evolved a natural capacity for integrating information for the perception and generation of patterns. It resists the imposition of meaningless patterns (isolated pieces of information that are unrelated to what makes sense to the student). Teaching methodologies of brain-based learning incorporate the recognition of the brain's natural capacity to perceive patterns. Vast amounts of seemingly unrelated information can be presented by teachers and assimilated by students. The brain's natural capacity for perceiving patterns makes it possible for the student to assimilate a vast amount of seemingly unrelated information. Implications: the teachers function is to influence the direction of the learner's natural patterning capacities. "For teaching to be effective, a learner must be able to create meaningful and personally relevant patterns."

5. Emotions are critical to patterning "What we learn is influenced and organized by emotions and mindsets involving expectancy, personal biases and prejudices, selfesteem, and the need for social interaction."EMOTIONS AND COGNITION CANNOT BE SEPARATED." (see Ornstein and Sobel 1987, Lakoff 1987, McGuiness and Pribram 1980, Halgren et al. 1983) Emotions are also involved in facilitating storage and recall of information and so are crucial to memory. (Rosenfeld 1988) The emotinal impact of learning experiences remain for a long time after the experience itself. Implications: Effective learning results from educational evironments which are supportive and respectful of students' feelings, emotions, needs, capacities and potential.

6.The brain processes parts and wholes simultaneously. Every brain simultaneously perceives and creates parts and wholes. There is a physiological basis for this. The brain processes parts:" According to the 'two-brain' doctrine - the left and right brain hemispheres differ. (Springer and Deutsch 1985) At the same time the brain processes wholes. The two brain hemispheres interact. (Hand 1984, Hart 1975) Implications: Effective pedagogical methods account for the brain's capacity for the simultaneous perception of parts and wholes. Teaching and learning strategies account for the fact that the simultaneous perception of parts and wholes is the basis for understanding. The simultaneous perception of parts and wholes is necessary for the understanding of the interrelationships between the component parts of a whole and for the understanding of the parts to the whole. Brain laterality and the interactivity of the two brain hemispheres constitute the physiological basis for the wholistic perspective. Teaching methods which account for the physiological basis of wholistic thinking are brain-based and effective in the learning process. The global presentation of subject matter is is conducive to the global functioning of the brain. Scientific principles are effectively learned if they are taught in the context of living science.

 7. Learning involves both focused attention and peripheral perception. "The brain absorbs the information of which it is directly aware and to which it is paying attention. It also directly absorbs information and signals that lie beyond the immediate focus of attention." The brain responds to the entire sensory context in which teaching or communication occurs. (O'Keefe and Nadel 1978) The brain responds to peripheral stimuli such as walls of the rom, hint of a smile, body osture etc. Signals from peripheral stimuli are subconsciously encoded by the brain Implications: Teachers must be genuine- express genuine feelings- the inner states are discerned by lerners or those in others in the communication process. There must be 'congruence' between the internal and the external person. See Lozanov 1978a, 1978b The learning environment should be structured and designed to account for the brain's subconscious registering of peripheral stimuli. An environment for optimal learning will be particularly conducive to learning - in an appropriate 'peripheral context' - with the right surroundings, lighting, noise level - with a view to stimulating students' interest and motivation.

8. Learning always involves both conscious and unconscious processes. Many signals perceived peripherally (peripheral perception) interact with the brain - are processed unconsciously - at the subconscious level. Implications: For effective learning, students must be engaged in 'active processing.' Teaching methodologies should emphasize learning procedures by which students can actively reorganize the material in personally meaningful and valuable ways.

 9. We have at least two types of memory: a spatial memory system and a set of systems for rote learning. The spatial memory system is allows for the instant memory of experiences. It is "motivated by novelty" and is "one of the systems that drives the search for meaning." (Nadel and Wilmer 1980, Nadel et al. 1984, Bransford and Johnson 1972) With continued learning, it is enriched over time as an increased number of items are taken for granted. The set of systems for rote learning is designed for storing relatively unrelated information (O'Keefe and Nadel 1978) The greater the separation of information from prior knowledge and experience, the greater the dependence of the brain on rote learning and repetition. Implications Ignoring the personal world of the learner with overemphasis of facts can interfere with the development of understanding and inhibit the brain's effective functioning. An overemphasis on the rote learning capactity of the brain is an inefficient use of its potential. Efficient use of the brain involves iusage of the spatial memory system. This means that the most effective learning experiences are those connected to real life situations and classroom teaching methodologies which utilise the active prdocessing capacities of the students. Students learn most effectively when they are actively engaged in projects, talks, discussions, field trips, record taking, problem solving etc. Teaching methodologies should emphasize context of information. For example, the suject of geography and the topic of flooding is evffectively learned when presented in the context of the actrual flooding disadsters. Historical and political themes presented in the context of current events. A histsory of Yugoslavia and Europe can be presented in the context of the actual conflict loccurring in Yugoslavia. Presentation of issues in the context of real life situations makes the subject matter meaningful to the student who can make sense of real life situations taking place inthe ccontest of his/her lifetime. This way of presenting information capitalises on the brain's innate capacity to 'make sense' out of real life siutations, a biologically based capacity which has evolved as a means of self-protection and survival of the organism having to maintain itself in a changing environment.

10. We understand and remember best when facts and skills are embedded in natural spatial memory. Specific 'items' acquire meaning when the are presented in the context of real life experiences - when they are embedded in ordinary experiences. The best example to illustrate this principle is the learning of native languages. A child's learning of a language is shaped both by internal processes and by social interaction (Vygotsky, 1978). Through real life experience learning is embedded in the spatial memory. Implications: Teaching methodologies should use 'real life' activities such as demonstrations, projects, field trips, drama etc.

11. Learning is enhanced by challenge and inhibited by threat. Optimal learning takes place with challenge and 'downshifts' under perceived threat. In the extereme form of 'downshifting' the individual feels helpless. The learner feels helpless, becomes less flexible and reverts to more routine behaviours. (Hart 1983) Part of the limbic system, the hippocampus functions partially as a relay center to the rest of the brain. It is the part of the brain which is the most sensitive to stress. Under perceived threat, connections with other parts of the brain appear to be interrupted. Implications: Teachers should understand the functioning of the hippocampus and accordingly create a learning environment of relaxed alertness in which students feel unthreatened but challenged.

12. Each brain is unique. All brains have the same sets of systems for the senses and the emotions. Each brain is unique in that these same sets of systems are integrated differently in each brain. Learning changes the structure of the brain. This adds to the uniqueness since for each individual the set of experiences is different. Implications: Teaching methodologies should allow for students' expression in many forms - verbal, tactile, emotional, intellectual etc. The degree of learning depends on the sense which students make of their experiences. Brain-based learning is an approach from which all education will ultimately benefit.