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What Every Teenager Should Know About His or Her Own Brain Tracey Tokuhama-Espinosa, Ph.D Insituto de Enseñanza y Aprendizaje (IDEA) Universidad San Francisco de Quito Tri Association, Panamá Octubre 2011

"


Background  Master’s from Harvard University in International

Education and Development and doctorate (Ph.D.) from Capella University (cross-disciplinary approach comparing findings in neuroscience, psychology, pedagogy, cultural anthropology and linguistics). Bachelor’s of Arts (International Relations) and Bachelor’s of Science (Communications) from Boston University, magna cum laude. • Director of the Institute for Research and

Educational Development (IDEA), Universidad San Francisco de Quito, Ecuador and professor of Education and Neuropsychology. • Teacher (pre-kindergarten through university) with

22 years of comparative research experience and support to hundreds of schools in 20 countries. • Three teenagers : )


There
is
an


explosion
in
 research
about
the
 brain
that
is
 changing
how
we
 think
about
 learning
and
 education.



Today’s Objectives

Recognize
that:
  

Many
factors
that
in=luence
student
learning
 are
outside
of
the
realm
of
in=luence
of
 teachers.


 

By
helping
students
know
more
about
their
 own
brains,
we
can
maximize
their
learning
 potential.



Factors outside of the classroom that influence learning?   (One minute paper)   Social Economic Status   Nutrition   Sleep patterns   Physical exercise   Relationships with peers and family   …?


“Teenagers are different”

 Excuse or explanation?


Reasons for changes?

  Brain changes during adolescence (see Giedd 2000; 2004;

2009)

  “The teen brain is not broken or defective. Rather, it is

wonderfully optimized to promote our success as a species.Giedd, 2009)

  “Maturing connections pave the way for increased

communication among brain regions, enabling greater integration and complexity of thought.” Cerebrum, http://www.dana.org/news/cerebrum/detail.aspx?id=1


Reasons for change?   “Carskadon and colleagues have reported maturational changes in

the biology of sleep-wake and circadian regulation during puberty that may provide impetus for a sleep phase delay” (2006)   “The two-process model of sleep regulation posits a fundamental

sleep-wake homeostatic process (process S) working in concert with the circadian biological timing system (process C) as the primary intrinsic regulatory factors. How do these systems change during adolescence?”   Melatonin secretory pattern Jennis, O.G., Acebo, C., Achermann, P., & Carskadon, M.A. (2006). Regulation of Adolescent Sleep: Implications for Behavior


Equal in “weight”? Example: Risky behavior   Nature   Physical changes in the brain architecture?   Genetic predisposition to certain types of behavior?

  Nurture   Poor parenting   Peer groups   Independence (late-night parties)   Social structures (Schools? Scheduling  lack of sleep 

behavior)


There are many ways to study the brain…. 1.  2.  3.  4.  5.  6.  7.  8.  9. 

Neuroimaging
 Neurotransmitters
and
brain
cheistry
 Neurogenisis
and
Plasticity
 Theories
about
Consciousness
 Beliefs
about
Intelligence
 Learning
theories
 Neuroethics
 Learning
differences
 Connection
between
Mind
and
Brain
 Sleep
 b.  Exercise
 c.  Nutrition
 a. 


¡Quiz! Multiple Choice Questions True or False Read
the
statement
and
decide
whether
you
think
it
is
a
true
or
a
false
statement

 AND
EXPLAIN
WHY


"


Question: ď “â€Ż Teenagers sometimes act out because their

brains are not yet fully formed.


TRUE AND FALSE Adolescents sometimes act out, but…   There
are
many
reasons:
   Parents?
   Hormones?
   Friends?
   Late
development
of
frontal
 lobes
(related
to
executive
 functions).



Questions: True or false? 


“The
brain
 changes
daily
 with
experience.”



TRUE The brain changes constantly due to new experiences.

  A3.
“The
brain
is
a
complex,
dynamic,
and
integrated


system
that
is
constantly
changed
by
experience,
though
 most
of
this
change
is
only
evident
at
a
microscopic
 level.”




Question:

True or false?




“The
brain
is
highly
 plastic
and
=lexible.”



TRUE Plasticidad   A4.
“Human
brains
have
a


high
degree
of
plasticity.


  The
brain
can
“=ix
itself”


with
practice.




Question:

Attention
+
Memory
=
 Learning?



TRUE Attention + Memory = Learning

  B6.
“To
learn


something
new
means
 you
have
to
pay
 attention
to
it,
and
to
 remember
it.




Question: 






The
brain
works
 without
rest,
even
 when
we
are
 sleeping.



TRUE Sleep and Dreaming   Your
brain
never
rests!
   Memory
consolidation
depends
on
REM
sleep


(dreaming)
   Sleep
deprivation
also
has
a
negative
impact
on
 memory.




Question:   To
really
learn


something,
 information
needs
 to
get
to
long‐term
 memory.
To
get
to
 long‐term
memory,
 what
do
you
need?



Rest
and
eat
 Review
and
sleep

 Sleep
and
eat
 Do
exercise
and
 sleep
 e.  Do
exercise
and
 eat.
 a.  b.  c.  d. 


ALL! BUT MORE THAN ANYTHING, Review and sleep well (Practice)

  While
some
memories


can
be
created
without
 sleep,
long‐term
memory
 depends
on
sleep.




Question:

  Nutrition
in=luences


learning.


a.  True
or
False?



Nutrition: Twenty percent (20%) of the body’s energy is used by the brain   B7.
“Nutrition
impacts
learning


(good
eating
habits
contribute
to
 learning
and
poor
eating
habits
 detract
from
the
brain’s
ability
to
 maximize
its
learning
potential).”
”
   The
body
and
the
brain
impact
each


other.




Question:   Of
all
the
organs


in
your
body,
the
 brain
is
the
only
 that
does
NOT…


a.  have
blood.
 b.  have
oxygen.
 c.  have
pain


receptors.
 d.  change
in
size.




c.
Pain
receptors
(your
brain
 doesn’t
feel
pain.



Question: True or false? 


“Making
decisions
 with
‘a
cool
head’
 and
without
 emotions
helps
you
 think
better.”



FALSE It is impossible to separate emotions and reasoning in the brain   Emotions
are
critical
in


decision‐making.



  Even
though
emotions
and


reasoning
seem
like
 opposites,
they
are
actually
 complimentary
processes.



  There
are
no
decisions


without
emotions.



Question: True or false?







“Today
there
is
technology
 (imaging
machines)
that
allow
us
to
 see
inside
the
working
human
 brain.”



TRUE!

"


Phrenology


Brain Autopsy


Neuro-x-rays

Radiology


EEG (Electroencephalography)

Electrical


CAT Scan (computed axil tomography)

Radiology (x-ray), but in 3D


PET/SPEC Scans (single photon/ positron emission computed tomography)

Chemical (radiotracers)


(f)MRI Scans (Functional Magnetic resonance imaging)

Electro-Magnetic energy, when (f) then also chemical


3D Scanner

Computer


fMRI 3D Scanner


Optical Tomography


Question: True or false?




“Human
brains
are
 as
similar
as
faces.”



TRUE

Human brains are as unique as faces   A1:
“Human
brains
are
as


unique
as
faces;
while
the
 basic
structure
is
the
same,
 there
are
no
two
that
are
 identical.
While
there
are
 general
patterns
of
 organization
in
how
different
 people
learn
and
which
brain
 areas
are
involved,
each
 brain
is
unique
and
uniquely
 organized
.”



Question: Albert
Einstein’s
 brain
was:
 the
same
size
 b.  smaller
 c.  bigger
 a. 








than
the
average
 man’s
brain.



b.
smaller
 however…..
   differences
in
gray
and
white
matter



Question: True or False? 


“Past
information
 in=luences
how
we
 learn
something
 new.”



TRUE The influence of prior learning   A5.
“Connecting
new


information
to
prior
 knowledge
facilitates
 learning.



  We
learn
better
and
faster


when
we
relate
new
 information
to
things
that
 we
already
know.




Question:   The bran continues

to be a mystery. Ninety percent (90% ) of what we know about this amazing organ has been discovered or proven in just the past XX years.

a.
5
 b.
10
 c.
20
 d.
30
 e.
50



Question:   The bran continues

to be a mystery. Ninety percent (90% ) of what we know about this amazing organ has been discovered or proven in just the past 10 years.

a.
5
 b.
10
 c.
20
 d.
30
 e.
50



Question:

True or false?



“Brain
parts
work
in
 isolation.”



FALSE Brain areas do NOT act in isolation   Most
brain
functions


involve
complicated
 systems
that
involve
both
 right
and
left
 hemispheres.

   (against
localizationism)



Question:

  The
number
of


neuroconnections
 in
the
brain
is
 about
the
same
 number
as…


a.
=ish
in
the
ocean
(18,000
species
 times
the
number
of
each
 species)
 b.
stars
in
the
Milky
Way
(100
 billion)”
 c.
people
in
the
world
 (6,804,800,000)
 e.
words
in
Spanish
(400,000
total;
 100,000
used
daily)
 f.
words
in
English
(1,000,000
total;
 200,000
used
daily)



b.
Stars
in
the
Milky
Way
 (est.
100
billion)



b.
In
just
the
past
10
years
we
have
learned
 90%
of
what
we
know
about
the
human
 brain.




Question:

How
big
is
your
 brain?

a.
Weighs
1.300
–
1.400
grams
and
 is
the
size
of
a
pomegranate.
 b.
Weighs
1.300
–
1.400
grams
and
 is
the
size
of
a
grapefruit.
 c.
Weighs
3.300
–
4.400
grams
and
 is
the
size
of
a
coconut.


 d.
Weighs
3.300
–
4.400
grams
and
 is
the
size
of
a
watermelon.





Final Thoughts and Questions   You
are
unique…
   You
have
control
over


your
brain
and
can
help
 it
learn
better
by
…
 …eating
well,
sleeping
 well,
studying…



References

  For a list of the more than 2000 books used in this

study, please log on to: http://www.proquest.com/enUS/products/dissertations/pqdt.shtml and add the name “Tokuhama-Espinosa” (free service).

  You can find this presnetation on:

www.educacionparatodos.com


For more information: Tracey Tokuhama-Espinosa, Ph.D. Universidad San Francisco de Quito Casa Corona, primer piso Campus Cumbayá Diego de Robles y vía Interoceánica ECUADOR desarrolloprofesional@usfq.edu.ec Tel.: (593)-2-297-1700; (593)-2-297-1937 Fax: (593)-2-289-0070. P.O.BOX 17-1200-841, Quito - Ecuador Telf: 297-1700 x1338 www.educacionparatodos.com


What every teenager should know about his or her own brain(tracey tokuhama espinosa)  
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