Recent years have seen a massive increase in the amount of knowledge we possess about the human brain and learning. We now know that the gray matter making up the most visible portions of the brain controls many of the thinking processes used in school activities. However, several smaller structures found at a deeper level appear to be essential in regulating emotional responses to learning, and may be instrumental in controlling motivation as well.
We know that the two hemispheres of the brain seem to control different functions, with the left hemisphere in most people directing language functions while the right hemisphere seems to be important in spatial and musical activities.
Specific skills, such as the ability to speak normally, read, carry a tune or walk gracefully can be seriously disturbed if corresponding areas of the brain are injured through accident or illness.
On the other hand, it appears that positive learning experiences can have a healthy effect on the anatomy of the brain — suggesting that a good teacher, or a good learning environment can actually improve the physical structure of the brain!!
Thomas Armstrong, Ph.D. is an award-winning author and speaker with twenty-eight years of teaching experience from the primary through the doctoral level, and over one million copies of his books in print on issues related to learning and human development. He is the author of nine books including Multiple Intelligences in the Classroom, In Their Own Way, Awakening Your Childâs Natural Genius, 7 Kinds of Smart, The Myth of the A.D.D. Child, ADD/ADHD Alternatives in the Classroom, and Awakening Genius in the Classroom. His books have been translated into sixteen languages, including Spanish, Chinese, Hebrew, Danish, and Russian.