All that we do, all that we are, comes from our brain. To enable us to survive, the brain has evolved to learn and to be taught Arguably the most important discovery for education from the field of neuroscience is that the brain is highly adaptive, a property called plasticity. Our brains continuously adapt to the environments where we live and work, including school and home.
Since genetics and experience interact to shape the brain, each person’s brain is unique. We all have a collection of different abilities, and one person may find one academic subject difficult, and yet enjoy and do well in another. Research recognizes that each person has a complex profile of preferences - likes and dislikes.
Some students do well in some subjects, but less well in others because these differences are grounded in individual differences in the brain. Our genetic predispositions interact with learning experiences to give rise to a wide range of individual differences. We are born with certain genetic tendencies. As we interact with the world around us, these experiences can reinforce or counteract our genetic inclinations..
Since genetics and experience interact to shape the brain, each person’s brain is unique. We have a collection of different abilities, and one person may struggle in one area, such as mathematics, and yet thrive in another, such as languages. Research does not support the simplistic notion that each student is either intelligent or not; rather, it recognizes that each person has a complex profile of strengths and limitations.
One thing, however, is certain: all brains demonstrate plasticity. Our learning difficulties in a subject should not, therefore, be perceived as unchangeable, but rather as challenges to overcome for us because our brains can change and improve through learning.
There are two fundamental things that brains want: to be safe and happy. We use two parts of our survival machine to achieve these goals: our fear system and our pleasure system.
It is important to remember that the fear and pleasure machinery in our brains are at work all the time. To achieve our brain’s desire to be safe and happy, we should start by learning about ourselves and to identify exactly what we want and what we don’t want to do. An easy and effective way you can do this is to use the PRISM Career Explorer system to compile a comprehensive report on your work and behavioural preferences, and to identify which work environments will enhance your personal performance.