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Title: Mentoring the Mind: Neuropedagogy and the Development of Critical Thought


1
Mentoring the Mind Neuropedagogy and the
Development of Critical Thought
Elizabeth Perry, PhD Rochester Institute of
Technology
2
All that is valuable in human society depends
upon the opportunity for development accorded the
individual. Albert Einstein
Ever since I was a child I have had this
instinctive urge for expansion and growth. To me,
the function and duty of a quality human being is
the sincere and honest development of one's
potential. Bruce Lee
3
Today Introductions and opening exercise Brief
overview of the human nervous system Human
nervous system development In utero Postnatal
nervous system development Interactions between
environment and post-natal development Impact of
the endocrine system and emotions on
learning Implications for pedagogy
4
Paper, crayons , markers and the luxury of
choice! Please takes a few pieces of paper,
and some writing/drawing tools of your choice
5
Paper, crayons , markers and the luxury of
choice! Please takes a few pieces of paper,
and some writing/drawing tools of your choice
1st -- draw something (anything!) 2nd --
write down what you think is most important in
education 3rd -- think about your earliest
childhood memories and (briefly) record what you
can remember. Think about what made this memory
salient
6
Introductions Please share your name,
school/dept and (optional) what you think is most
critical in creating an environment for
successful learning
7
  • Elizabeth Kriscenski Perry, 1964 Connecticut
  • Great at home enrichmentread before 3yearned to
    go to school
  • Thought K-3 was a total waste of time
  • Started hating school around 4th gradecouldnt
    memorize the times tables
  • Scored really high on all standardized tests
  • Had two great 7th 8th grade teachers, started
    working at a strawberry farm/cider mill, and was
    the youngest member of a weekly radio show called
    Teen Talk
  • Spent summer sessions at Talcott Mountain Science
    Center in Avon, CT
  • Won a partial scholarship to Miss Porters School
    in Farmington CTdid well in early science but
    was uninspired by teachersfell in love with
    literature and art
  • English teacher best ever in my life
  • Was admitted to Brown University, Providence
    RIlearned to row, and had one amazing class
    Ambition and Hedonism in American Culture The
    Crack of Doom on the Hydrogen Jukebox
  • 10 years later went back to school for
    Psychology, switched back to Biology
  • Went straight on for a MS and PhD in Neuroscience

8
  • Post-doctoral fellow ship in developmental
    neuroscience
  • Laboratory research
  • Taught in an alternative high school/GED program
    for 15-21 year olds
  • Grants officer
  • Interim Head of School at a small private
    Montessori School
  • Lecturer at RIT for 4 yearsprimarily in the
    Biomedical Sciences program, but
  • also other bio-related programs, and
    General Science Exploration.
  • My own next round of education (formal classes of
    some kind) art and /or architecture

9
My conclusions/assertions Human beings are
wired to learnthis is one of our defining
characteristics All education should harness
this natural tendency Must begin with a real
(fact-based) understanding of human development
and the anatomical substrates of learning Good
education must also utilize the strong
interdependence of emotion and learning
10
Questions or comments?
Education is a human right with immense power to
transform. On its foundation rest the
cornerstones of freedom, democracy and
sustainable human development.  Kofi Annan
(Ghanaian diplomat, seventh secretary-general of
the United Nations, 2001 Nobel Peace Prize.)
11
Speed review of the human nervous system
Warn about a couple of autopsy photos of the
exposed brain
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Cerebellum
http//www.anatomyatlases.org/
19
Ramon y Cahal drawings of silver stained PKJ
neurons
20
Cerebellum is involved with motor learning and
coordination. Additional research has
demonstrated that the CBL is also heavily
involved in other learning and cognitionand has
a strong role is both language skills, modulation
of sensory information and emotion.
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cingulate gyrus sulci and gyri
Corpus callosum 200250 million contralateral
projections grey matter vs white matter
24
Diencephalon Thalamusrelay to the cortex
regulation of sleep wakefulness Hypothalamus
contain many small nuclei with diverse function
Talk about old vs. new structuresand cortical
inhibition of deeper structures aka lizard
brainroad rage and alcohol
25
Hypothalamic Control of Appetite and Food Intake
26
The hypothalamic nuclei include the
following345                             
                                                  
                           
Region Area Nucleus Function6
Anterior Medial Medial preoptic nucleus urinary bladder contraction Decreased heart rate Decreased blood pressure
Anterior Medial Supraoptic nucleus (SO) vasopressin release
Anterior Medial Paraventricular nucleus (PV) oxytocin release vasopressin release7
Anterior Medial Anterior hypothalamic nucleus (AH) thermoregulation panting sweating thyrotropin inhibition
Anterior Medial Suprachiasmatic nucleus (SC) vasopressin release Circadian rhythms
Anterior Lateral Lateral preoptic nucleus
Anterior Lateral Lateral nucleus (LT) thirst and hunger
Anterior Lateral Part of supraoptic nucleus (SO) vasopressin release
Tuberal Medial Dorsomedial hypothalamic nucleus (DM) GI stimulation
Tuberal Medial Ventromedial nucleus (VM) satiety neurendocrine control
Tuberal Medial Arcuate nucleus (AR) neurendocrine control
Tuberal Lateral Lateral nucleus (LT) thirst and hunger
Tuberal Lateral Lateral tuberal nuclei
Posterior Medial Mammillary nuclei (part of mammillary bodies) (MB) feeding reflexes
Posterior Medial Posterior nucleus (PN) Increase blood pressure pupillary dilation shivering
Posterior Lateral Lateral nucleus (LT)
http//psychology.wikia.com/wiki/Hypothalamic
27
Hypophyseal portal system
The hypothalamus is a neuroendocrine organ
Squire p.905 Contains cells that bridge neuronal
and endocrine definitions. Feature
neurotransmitters and neuropeptides. Released
not at a synapsebut into the bloodstream (the
portal capillary plexus).
28
Limbic system
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From Clinical Neuroanatomy and Neurophysiology
ed.8 Gilman Newman
31
Lateral ventricles
Choroid plexusmanufactures cerebral spinal fluid
(CSF)
32
Blood supply
33
Blood brain barrier
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Enteric nervous system (ENS)
Autonomic nervous system
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The three main parts of the brain (forebrain,
midbrain and hindbrain) originate as prominent
swellings at the head end of the early neural
tube. In human beings, the cerebral hemispheres
eventually overgrow the midbrain, medulla, and
pons, and also partly obscure the
cerebellum.. Assuming that the fully developed
human brain contains on the order of 100 billion
neurons and that virtually no new neurons are
added after birth, once can calculate that
neurons must be generated in the developing brain
at an average rate of more than
250,000/min. Samuel Schacher in Kandel
Schwartz
From Kandel Schwartz, Principles of Neuroscience
41
Human primary visual cortex
42
PRENATAL NERVOUS SYSTEM DEVELOPMENT Cell
birth/division Cell pruning Cell
migration Rough wiring THIS DETERMINES A
SIGNIFICANT AMOUNT OF POSTNATAL CAPACITY
43
POST-NATAL NERVOUS SYSTEM DEVELOPMENT this is
where our work is! Myelination Synaptogenesis
Critical Windows
There was never a child so lovely but his mother
was glad to get him to sleep.  Ralph Waldo
Emerson
Children are one third of our population and all
of our future.  Select Panel for the Promotion
of Child Health, 1981
44
generic Neuron
dendrites
Axonal endings
SYNAPSE
Nodes of Ranvier
SYNAPSE
Myelin sheath
Cell nucleus
Information flow
45
Cell body of a myelinating cell
Myelination
Cross section of an axon
Mitochondria
Layer upon layer of lipid membrane
46
dendrites
Axonal endings
SYNAPSE
Nodes of Ranvier
SYNAPSE
Myelin sheath
Cell nucleus
Information flow
47
Synapse imagery (zebrafish) From the lab of Rita
Balice-Gordon, Ph.D, U Penn
48
Rate of neuron growth (early pregnancy) 250,000
neurons/minute Length of spiny terminals of a
Purkinje cell 40,700 micron Number spines on a
Purkinje cell dendritic branchlet
61,000 Surface area of cerebellar cortex
50,000 cm2 (from G.M. Shepherd, The Synaptic
Organization of the Brain, 1998, p. 255) Weight
of adult cerebellum 150 grams (Afifi, A.K. and
Bergman, R.A., Functional Neuroanatomy, New York
McGraw-Hill, 1998) Number of Purkinje cells
15-26 million Number of synapses made on a
Purkinje cell up to 200,000
Ramon y Cahal
http//faculty.washington.edu/chudler/facts.html
49
Cortical Neurons Cortical synaptogenesis and
post-natal wiring
Elaborate networks of cortical neurons
glia encorbio.com
50
Total number of neurons in cerebral cortex 10
billion (from G.M. Shepherd, The Synaptic
Organization of the Brain, 1998, p. 6). However,
C. Koch lists the total number of neurons in the
cerebral cortex at 20 billion (Biophysics of
Computation. Information Processing in Single
Neurons, New York Oxford Univ. Press, 1999, page
87). Total number of synapses in cerebral
cortex 60 trillion (yes, trillion) (from G.M.
Shepherd, The Synaptic Organization of the Brain,
1998, p. 6). However, C. Koch lists the total
synapses in the cerebral cortex at 240 trillion
(Biophysics of Computation. Information
Processing in Single Neurons, New York Oxford
Univ. Press, 1999, page 87). Percentage of
total cerebral cortex volume (human) frontal
lobe 41 temporal lobe 22 parietal lobe
19 occipital lobe 18. (Caviness Jr., et al.
Cerebral Cortex, 8372-384, 1998.) Number of
cortical layers 6 Thickness of cerebral cortex
1.5-4.5 mm
http//faculty.washington.edu/chudler/facts.html
51
Developmental Windows and Neuropedagogy
  • Perinatal Period/ Early Infancy
  • Late Infancy/Toddler
  • Preschool
  • Elementary
  • Adolescence
  • Early adulthood
  • Middle age and late adulthood

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During peri-natal period and early infancy the
work of the new human being is establishing
bonds, securing nutrition, care and protection.
Also--physical growth is in the exponential
part of the curve!
In humans, the brain usually triples in
mass/weight during the first yearnot through an
increase in neuronal cell number. Increase
results from glial cell proliferation,
myelination (and to some degree synaptogenesis).
1. Sagittal suture
2. Anterior (frontal) fontanel
3.  Coronal suture
4.  Frontal bones
The flat bones of the skull are separated by
areas of fibrous connective tissue that provide
spaces between the developing bones.  These
areas  (called fontanels, or soft spots) permit
the skull to undergo changes of shape during
birth and allow for rapid growth of the brain
during infancy.  Ossification of the fontanels is
usually complete by 24 months of  age. Figure
Legend fromhttp//bioweb.uwlax.edu/aplab/ 
54
Developmental Windows and Neuropedagogy To
do lists
Perinatal Period/ Early Infancy----SURVIVAL Late
Infancy/Toddler---HAVE FUN, BE LOVED, EAT GROW,
DEVELOP RUDIMENTARY COMMUNICATION Preschool---B
EGIN PAYING ATTENTION TO THE BIG WORLD, BEGIN
FORMING A WORLD VIEW, ACQUIRE ADVANCED
LANGUAGE SKILLS ElementaryREFINE WORLD VIEW,
REFINE COMMUNICATION TOOLS, DEVELOP CONFIDENCE
AND SELF-ESTEEM AdolescenceCOMPETE FOR
DOMINANCE AND ESTABLISH RELATIONSHIPS,
DETERMINE AND DEVELOP PASSIONS Early
adulthoodDEEPEN UNDERSTANDING OF SELF AND WORLD,
SPECIALIZE Middle age and late adulthoodDEVELOP
ADVANCED RELATIONSHIP SKILLS, HELP OTHERS
55
Montessori
Dr. Maria Montessori, 1870 - 1952 Born in
Chiaravalle in the Province of Ancona in 1870,
Maria Montessori was the first woman to practise
medicine in Italy, having graduated from the
Faculty of Medicine at the University of Rome in
1896. As a physician, Dr. Montessori was in touch
with young children and became profoundly
interested in their development. Through
careful and exhaustive scrutiny, she realized
that children construct their own personalities
as they interact with their environment. She also
observed the manner in which they learned as they
spontaneously chose and worked with the auto
didactic materials she provided. Her approach to
education stemmed from a solid grounding in
biology, psychiatry and anthropology . She
studied children of all races and cultures in
many countries around the world, soon seeing the
universality of the laws of human development
played out before her. She continued her
observations throughout her life, widening and
deepening her understanding until her death in
1952. http//www.montessori-ami.org/
56
The Montessori approach offers a broad vision of
education as an aid to life. It is designed to
help children with their task of inner
construction as they grow from childhood to
maturity. It succeeds because it draws its
principles from the natural development of the
child. Its flexibility provides a matrix within
which each individual child's inner directives
freely guide the child toward wholesome
growth. Montessori classrooms provide a prepared
environment where children are free to respond to
their natural tendency to work. The children's
innate passion for learning is encouraged by
giving them opportunities to engage in
spontaneous, purposeful activities with the
guidance of a trained adult. Through their work,
the children develop concentration and joyful
self-discipline. Within a framework of order, the
children progress at their own pace and rhythm,
according to their individual capabilities.
57
Dr. Montessori, in her initial work in 1907 in
San Lorenzo, observed that the younger children
were intensely attracted to sensory development
apparatus. The children used these materials
spontaneously, independently, repeatedly and with
deep concentration. They emerged from this
spontaneous activity renewed and with a profound
sense of inner satisfaction. "Montessori method
is based on the spontaneous activity of the child
which is aroused precisely by the interest the
child takes in the material." From this initial
discovery, over many years of observation and
trial and error, Dr. Montessori and her son
Mario, went on to design an entire range of
Montessori materials. In order for the materials
to be of optimum benefit they must be presented
to the child at the appropriate stage in his or
her development by a trained Montessori teacher.
The materials then allow the child to engage in
self-directed, purposeful activity. The materials
are beautiful and enticing and are displayed in
an orderly and accessible way.
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Developmental Windows and Neuropedagogy To
do lists
Perinatal Period/ Early Infancy----SURVIVAL Late
Infancy/Toddler---HAVE FUN, BE LOVED, EAT GROW,
DEVELOP RUDIMENTARY COMMUNICATION Preschool---B
EGIN PAYING ATTENTION TO THE BIG WORLD, BEGIN
FORMING A WORLD VIEW, ACQUIRE ADVANCED
LANGUAGE SKILLS ElementaryREFINE WORLD VIEW,
REFINE COMMUNICATION TOOLS, DEVELOP CONFIDENCE
AND SELF-ESTEEM AdolescenceCOMPETE FOR
DOMINANCE AND ESTABLISH RELATIONSHIPS,
DETERMINE AND DEVELOP PASSIONS Early
adulthoodDEEPEN UNDERSTANDING OF SELF AND WORLD,
SPECIALIZE Middle age and late adulthoodDEVELOP
ADVANCED RELATIONSHIP SKILLS, HELP
OTHERS These are cumulative!
61
Work with natural development Birth ten
novel concepts Ten forward build on existing
framework, use analogy Emotions Recapture the
perspective of learning as a privilege and
luxury
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EMOTION Drives Learning
Papers
63
Love and Fear
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It all comes back to SYNAPTOGENESIS (of course!)
We are constantly forming transient
connections Learning occurs with
stabilization of connectionsformation of
permanent connections, networks, associations
The structure of the micro-circuitry of the
brain is based on repetition and also the
strength of the stimulation (I believe)
that this is a critical role/justification of
the expense of emotion Emotions are the
glue of the wiring of the brain We are
wired to learn from each other (supplemented by
books /internet/ other environment) and the
strength/nature of the relationship will
determine the success or failure of the
attempt. We are wired to learn by trial and
error. A system that has no room for failure is
a weak one.
65
THANK YOU to each of you for your time and
attention to Ms. Christy Smith, our ASL
interpreter to the entire FITL team! to my
RIT teaching mentors, guides, muses, role-models
and supervisorsin particular Dr. Dick
Doolittle, Dr. Gary Skuse, Dr. Sophia Maggelakis,
Prof. Heidi Miller, Prof. Nancy Valentage, Dr.
Andy Langner, Dr. Cara Calvelli, Dr. Rebecca
Johnson, and Dr. Laura Tubbs All staff and
faculty colleagues committed to student
success-- in particular Ms. Lynne Mazadoorian,
Ms. Catherine Mahrt-Washington, Ms. Rosanne
Klingler, Ms. Kelly Youngblood, Ms. Anna
Fiorucci, Dr. Jim Myers Ive learned so much
from all of you (and many others)
66
What (and how!) do you think?
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