Welcome back to the Neuroscience Meets Social and Emotional Learning Podcast for Brain Fact Friday and EPISODE #167 on “The Neuroscience of Learning” that was inspired with an upcoming interview with cognitive neuroscience researcher John Harmon, who will take us through how learning happens in the
Publish Date: Sep 30, 2021
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Welcome back to the Neuroscience Meets Social and Emotional Learning Podcast for Brain Fact Friday and EPISODE #167 on “The Neuroscience of Learning” that was inspired with an upcoming interview with cognitive neuroscience researcher John Harmon, who will take us through how learning happens in the brain as well as understanding what happens when performing a task (like throwing a football) while under stress.
In Today’s Brain Fact Friday, You Will Learn:
✔︎ The two most important ingredients required for learning and how they relate to your brain.
✔︎ Why being a know-it-all will get you nowhere when it comes to teaching and learning.
✔︎ How to use self-reflection to become more self-aware of your own learning process.
I'm Andrea Samadi, author, and educator from Toronto, Canada, now in Arizona, and like many of our listeners, have been fascinated with learning and understanding the science behind high performance strategies in our schools, our sports, and workplace environments with ideas that we can all use, understand and implement immediately.
This week, while preparing for our upcoming interviews, I had the opportunity to stop and think before writing this week’s Brain Fact Friday. Sometimes life is so busy, that we miss this opportunity to reflect on where we began, and where we are going, and just peddle forward without this reflection, missing some powerful moments of learning. Whatever it is that you are working on, take a minute to look back to where you started. It will help you to see how far you have come, and give you boost that I’m sure you could use at this moment. This will create momentum to help propel you forward, while increasing your own self-confidence with this self-reflection. This is actually a question in Brendon Burchard’s High Performance Planner[i] that was written based on the world’s largest study of high performers and how they increase productivity and win.
When looking at where we started with this podcast, June 2019, I thought back to some of the earlier episodes and remember before I was 100% comfortable with this topic, I would spend a lot of time preparing for interviews, reading EVERY book the person had written and carefully crafting their questions. Looking back now, I know it was because I wanted to be prepared, but I also didn’t want to appear like I didn’t know what I was talking about. Listening to these old episodes is another story, and not easy to do because we can easily pick up many areas that needed to be improved, (content as well as technical) but we must all start somewhere, and progress happens when we do. We can all benefit from looking back to day 1 of whatever we are working on- what can you LEARN from this?
Once you have looked at where you began, look at where you are now, so I fast-forwarded to episode #144 that was recorded this past summer with Tom Beakbane,[ii] on “How to Understand Everything” and episode #146 with expert in psychology, cognitive neuroscience and neurotechnology, Dr. Howard Rankin, Ph.D.[iii] on “How Not to Think” I started to realize that it was ok that I didn’t understand everything and saying so was freeing. I stopped reading every single book written by the person to be interviewed and stuck to their most recent and relevant book. While being prepared is important to me, I still practice interview questions, but stopped overdoing it, and think that this new awareness made me more relaxed with this whole process. Self-awareness goes a long way and anything we can learn to help us to improve is something we should take note of. I wonder if anything stuck out for you when looking back at where you first began to where you are now?
With this new awareness, I was finally comfortable enough to invite someone on the podcast whose work in this new field of neuroscience still puzzles me. It’s not like I could even explain what he does with his work, without reading his BIO but John Harmon said it best himself while preparing for his interview, when he mentioned to me that “understanding a subject and explaining it are two different things.” This lit up a whole bunch of lights for me.
I remember recently talking about this same concept with Chey and Pav[iv] on their podcast[v] this summer about teaching, learning and leadership when they were talking about how a math teacher can practice problems they know how to solve over and over again with students, and get caught up in forgetting how to “teach” a new concept because they are using rote memory. This math teacher began trying to solve problems with the class that they had not yet practiced. This is effortful, with some risk involved, especially if we fail. We risk “not knowing the answer” or “looking less than intelligent in front of others.”
So with these learning lessons in mind, f