“Everything we know about the adolescent brain, in particular, would suggest that the school day ought to start much later in the morning, if not after lunch. That’s a simple example of the way that schools can actually work against the optimal development of the brain. There’s also the fact that for a very long time in human history – in fact, the vast majority of human history – human brains did not read, which is to say we did not neuronally recycle our face recognition system to become a graphing recognition system and become literate. Yet now, we are doing, in schools, on an everyday basis, forms of mathematics that were extremely rare in ancient times.

The Pythagorean Theorem, for example, was a freaking mystical insight, like it was an insight into the reality of the cosmos for the limited number of elite people, and now every eighth-grader is learning the Pythagorean Theorem. Literacy and numeracy affect the developing brain. This is very clear.

What we can say from just this brief conversation is that through the large scale institutionalization of schooling, we’ve had a massive impact on the development of the brain because so many people now are literate, numerate…”

The above passage is an excerpt from a transcribed discussion between educator, Zachary Stein, and Jesse Lawler, host of the podcast Smart Drug Smarts. Read the transcribed discussion and/or listen to the audio podcast.

 

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