God’s Gift of our Amazing Brains

Have you ever entered a room and stood there forgetting just why you went all the way up the stairs in the first place?

Have you ever suddenly started whistling a tune that you haven’t heard in years?

This past weekend I had the enriching opportunity to attend a conference in Boston focused on how the brain thinks, remembers, and learns deeply. I heard a great variety of talks from Harvard professors, researchers, and educators from around the world.

Some spoke about their research into language acquisition and the importance of having conversational “turns” even with the smallest of infants. Others focused on how brains learn better when they are relaxed and in a safe space. Many talked about how deep learning can only be achieved through multiple, spaced-out retrieval sessions (review concepts early and often!). All of them agreed on one specific thing: the brain is a mysterious organism that we are only beginning to understand.

Our complexity and intricacy
As a Christian educator, I am continually amazed at the complexity and intricacy of human beings. Imagine how much God loves us and delights in us to design our bodies and brains to be so amazing! When we wrestle with a new concept or persevere through a challenge, we praise God by valuing the astonishing brain he gave us and by nurturing it to grow.

Celebration of Learning
On Thursday, January 9 our students will be presenting their work at our biannual Celebration of Learning. Some classes will be showing completed products that have undergone many rounds of drafts and feedback. Other classes may be demonstrating work that is still in progress. For many students, the products that are on display represent hours of digging deeply into a concept and exercising their brain muscle. One of our goals as educators is to teach students to reflect on their own work and their own learning process.

Next time you attend a CoL, ask a student one of these questions:

  • What is something that will stick with you after learning this concept?
  • What did this project teach you about your own learning styles and how you learn best?
  • What part of this task was hard for you? How did you overcome it?
  • What did you learn through this process about God’s amazing world and your place in his story?

I am continually thankful for the learning that I see happening in our classrooms and hallways. If you haven’t seen it for yourself, come! Celebrate God’s gift of the amazing brain with us.

Sara Whetstone, Teacher & Vice-Principal
Hamilton District Christian High