Mind over matter

Todays Edu.au seminar with Professor Martin Westwell Martin (Director Flinders Centre for Science Education in the 21st Century ). Below I’ve taken some of the main points of interest –

Teachers are asked to be experts in everything. Whereas in other sectors, people can specialise.

  • People now say intelligence 20% nature, 80% nurture — used to be other way around
  • There is very little doubt that violence in an environment causes violent attitudes and behaviour – your brain re-wires.
  • An interesting trend — young people are better than ever at distinguishing between authentic and synthetic environments/environments
  • So socialistion the primary use of Internet – not finding info
  • Our brains are constantly wiring and re-wiring
  • But the emotional context has a large effect on the learning and thinking
  • The people in an environment are most important
  •   Teacher student relationship very important.
  •   RElationship between kids themselves and parents are very important
  • Blue light important – the blue light that we see in the morning sends a message that says stop producing melatonin
  • Neuromyths — the ideas that kids learn in certain ways and are labelled as such permanently does not support that
  • Teens overestimate risks, but coordination of thinking and ability to inhibit impulses is not developed yet
  • collaborative environments need to be more sophisticated — blogs, wikis, moodles – we lose something if not synchronous
  • Prescriptive instructions kill the chance to exercise executive function
  • When you intervene and let kids know intellgience is malleable – their learning goes up
  • Obviously categorisation is going to happen to some extent — but we have to be careful about the messages we send to learners about what type they are
  • We do one thing and then switch quickly to another – we cannot paralell process.
  • Tools of the Mind – preschool program – a US-based currciulum tha tpimproves Executive Function

Executive functions

Executive functions


About thand

I'm a currently working at NSW Departrment of Education & Training, Connected Classrooms Program, Sydney.
This entry was posted in eLearning, Informal learning, information organising, schooling, Social networking, Teacher. Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Mind over matter

  1. KerryJ says:

    Hi Tim

    Glad you enjoyed the seminar today and found my live blogging so useful.



  2. Angela says:

    I love the t-shirt design. So true.

    Seems like a very interesting seminar. Every point had my head nodding, from my own experience as a learner, from my experience as a teacher and now as a parent as well.

    From my own experience at school/uni I had some years where I did so well and others in which I struggled. I always believed it was very much influenced by how my teachers perceived me. When they believed in me and/or my capacity to improve, I did well!

    Thanks for sharing.

  3. Janet says:

    What is it with this metaphor about wiring in brains? I’m curious about the take-off – it IS a metaphor. What is it trying to say? That a person’s brain is “wired” by external forces, externally created experiences? It’s a completely different view to that of human beings exercising free-will – having personal agency, self-awareness and responsibility. Personally I’m for a dialectical approach that sees us making ourselves, but not in circumstances of our own choosing. How does the wired brain metaphor help? Janet

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