How to help our brain learn?
Parents and educators can help our children and students to learn better if we know more about our brain and how it works. Learnability is based on brain plasticity and this plasticity depends on how much we use our brain. A few days after birth we already have billions of neurons that can connect with each other every time we learn something new, thus millions of synaptic connections can be created.
During early childhood is where the greatest explosion of these connections takes place, which is why the young child learns so quickly and absorbs everything he can from his environment. This is what in the words of María Montessori is known as the absorbing mind of the child.
It is a capacity that the child from 0 to 3 years old has to learn involuntarily and unconsciously through their interaction with the environment that surrounds them, and that in the stage of 3 to 6 years occurs in a much more conscious way, allowing the child to assimilate these experiences and integrate them to build their own intelligence and personality. That is why the years corresponding to early childhood education are so important from the educational point of view. They are where the foundation of all further development is laid and in it, great developmental milestones take place in areas such as language, social relationships, movement and the development of the senses.
However, today we know that the brain continues to learn throughout life and that every time we learn something, our brain changes. We are building our brains throughout our entire lives. Our intelligence is not fixed, it can always be improved. And the same goes for our personalities. We are born with a temperament marked by genes, but through learning, we can incorporate new skills and habits that modulate our character and configure our own plan for life and personal growth.
The healthy alimentation; the regular practice of physical exercise; rest, sleeping especially after learning favors memory and the integration of new content; train working memory, this is what makes us reason, think, make decisions, solve problems; guiding learning with questions motivates, focuses attention and favors autonomous learning; emotion, says J. Ramón Gamo, a child neuropsychologist that “to learn we have to be emotional, what does not excite us does not exist in our memory or in our mental world. We live our experiences, and we keep them in our memory thanks to the emotion that accompanies every act and every experience. It is the origin of all memory, belief and behaviour that we have learned. If we want to change our life, let’s take charge of our way of perceiving and managing emotions”.
And finally, following this author, “the brain is a social organ that learns by doing things with other people.”