Take it nice and slow

October 18, 2009 at 9:14 pm 1 comment

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AS KIDS move into adolescence they need to become less impulsive and more reflective. So the brain’s output controls in an adolescent are pushing the teenager to take her time and not do the first thing that comes into her head.

“This is ironic,” says Mel Levine in his A Mind at a Time, “since our high schools force our kids to do everything as fast as possible.

“They have to write quickly, think fast, remember on the spot, sprint through timed tests, and meet tight deadlines,” says the professor of pediatrics and director of the Clinical Center for the Study of Development and Learning at the University of North Carolina medical school.

“This frenzied pedagogical rhythm is totally contrary to what the students’ brains are striving to become. The output controls are crying out, declaring that they exist to promote thoughtful, slowly executed work, which should be one of the principal missions of adolescence and the high school years.

“I think we should reward adolescents for taking as much time as they need to do a good job.

“The output controls are doing what they can to decelerate thinking, decision making, and output, to make kids thoughtful rather than impulsive. Secondary education, therefore, ought to incorporate as one of its principal objectives teaching kids how to work slowly.

“That’s what the developing brains are trying to tell us.”

Mel Levine MD is also the author of The Myth of Laziness and is a co-founder of All Kinds of Minds, a nonprofit institute for for the understanding of differences in learning.

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Entry filed under: Pedagogy, Thoughts from the classroom, What's on the PiFactory blog.... Tags: , , .

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