Dr. Judy's November-December 2012 Newsletter
I think I have met more of you in the past year than ever before through my presentations and workshops in 25 states and 10 countries in the past 12 months—or "remotely" through television, radio, and online interviews. I'm looking forward to repeating that adventure in the coming year. Whether it is at a conference, where I look out on a thousand eager faces, or the two small 3–day August institutes for 35 passionate administrators, specialists, and teachers from six countries here at the University of California, Santa Barbara (almost my backyard).
I am more impressed than ever at your relentless dedication and your desire to build your knowledge base of the neuroscience of learning. You'll find a list of places where I'll be giving presentations at conferences and workshops at schools on my website. If you are able to attend one of these, please come by and say "hello"!
It seems that we all share the common challenge of TOO MUCH information students are required to memorize and not enough time to be creative and offer the authentic, project-based, inquiry and discovery learning experiences that are so critical if students are to develop their executive functions.
Executive functions is the neurological term for the highest levels of cognition designed for decision-making and goal achievement. These include judgment, critical analysis, prioritization, deduction, risk assessment, and transfer of knowledge to novel, innovative applications. In the United States, the Common Core Standards call for students to use these very executive functions that have been described by neurology for over 75 years as emblematic of prefrontal cortex neural processing.
As these neural networks undergo their greatest rate of change (maturation with pruning of unused networks and myelination to strengthen the most used networks) during the school years, educators are the caretakers of the development of our students' highest cognitive and emotional neural networks. Not only are these executive functions those delineated in the Common Core Standards, but they are also the qualities now sought by employers in response to globalization of communication, accelerated information dissemination, and technological breakthroughs.
The success of educators to help all children develop these critical 21st century skill sets will increasingly benefit from the continuing acceleration in the quality and quantity of neuroscience research relevant to how the brain learns best. It will be up to educators to "translate" the implications of the research into strategies for planning and teaching.
As I see your efforts to acquire the background knowledge in neuroscience to take on this task of developing applications of this research, I am confident that you will succeed. I look forward to the impact you will have as you continue to learn and collaborate to insure that students are engaged with meaningful, memorable learning experiences that their brains will construct into long-term, concept memory circuits.
Your students will be prepared with the transferable wisdom they will need to solve new problems that have yet to be revealed and expand on new information as they seize the opportunities for creative innovation in their 21st century. Keep igniting, Judy
Judy Willis, M.D., M.Ed. firstname.lastname@example.org www.RADTeach.com
Here are some of my recent and most popular free links starting with those relevant to Executive Function and Neuroplasticity, the topics of my current book in progress. Watch for an upcoming episode of NPR Radiolab with my input about executive functions and the bilingual brain
Australia ABC TV show Lateline Judy Willis, MD interview Apr 20, 2012 “Neuroscientist explains how to stimulate young brains”. Link with video & transcript http://bit.ly/IeW5H1
Interview with Dr. Judy Willis ABC Radio National 'All in the Mind' program hosted by Lynne Malcolm http://www.abc.net.au/radionational/programs/allinthemind/how-children-learn-best/4297754
Neuroscience and the Bilingual Brain: Bilingual Kids Get a Powerful Cognitive Boost http://bit.ly/GGjCgi March 2012. EDUTOPIA
Scholastic Administrator includes Dr. Judy Willis interview in article “Brain Storm” As neuroscientists begin to figure out how the brain learns, educators are using the research to change the way they teach. http://bit.ly/S1FxZ5
Ed Week includes Dr. Judy Willis interview. More Evidence that Links Students' Boredom to the physiological consequences of a Stressed Brain. http://is.gd/cdHdpE
Understanding How the Brain Thinks “Neurologist and former teacher Dr. Judy Willis will be presenting a 6-part series on how young brains develop neurologically; she'll also offer some research-based classroom strategies to teach critical thinking and other 21st century skills.”
View 7 Video Chapters of Dr. Judy Willis’ “Big Thinker in Education” Interview: http://www.edutopia.org/big-thinkers-judy-willis-neuroscience-learning-video
The Big Thinker video interview is divided into 7 1-2 minute segments by topic. For focus on executive functions, scroll to, Preparing Students for the 21st Century (starts at 06:48 into the video)
“ASK Dr. Judy” Free ASCD Archived Brain-Based Learning Strategies Webinars. Video and pdf multiple ed topics http://bit.ly/PDwSK1 & scroll down. For the webinar about executive functions, go to “Strengthening the Brain’s Executive Functions: The Real Higher Order Processing” April 13, 2011
Seven Part Video Series from Lower Canada College 2011: One on One With Dr Judy Willis
One on One with Dr. Judy Willis, MD, M.Ed.: Helping Students Develop Their Highest Cognitive Potentials
Part 5: Building the Brain's Executive Functions for 21 Cent Success http://bit.ly/y0cWdZ
Part 6: Parenting to build executive functions in children http://bit.ly/xekaCK.