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What's inside the Brain? What lives there? What's not living there?

November 15, 2020 by Moulton   Comments (1)


What's inside the Brain? What lives there? What's not living there?

Recall the name of the Dutch Airline, KLM — Royal Dutch Airlines. Let's use 'KLM' as our mnemonic. And let's just use the letter 'B' for the Brain that houses its residents.

Consider this mathematical equation:

B = K - L + M

So what are K, L, and M?

Let K stand for the scientifically accurate Knowledge — the True Knowledge that lives inside the Brain.

Let L stand for Lacuna — the gaps or missing parts of a comprehensive knowledge base — the empty room at the inn, the empty chair in the parlor.

Let M stand for Misconception — the crazy beliefs, the illusions or delusions. The "crazy uncle" who lives in the brain and spouts nonsense.

For any given Brain, there will be some accurate knowledge, K. And for every brain, there will always be stuff not yet learned, lacunae, L. And for most brains there will be some misconceptions, M.

The bugaboos, of course, reside in the Lacunae, L and the Misconceptions, M.

• How does one validate accurate knowledge, K?

• How does one recognize the gaps, the lacunae, L?

• And how does one recognize the misconceptions, M?

We want to increase K. We want to drive L and M to zero (meaning fill in the gaps and eliminate the problematic misconceptions).

What systematic method do we rely on?

What systematic method do we rely on?

The first challenge is just to identify how many independent axes are in play. Initially, back in the mid-80s, I began with just one axis, the Anxiety-Confidence Axis. Now, some 35 years later, I list seven emotion axes related to learning:

Emotion Axes

And that's just in the Emotions Space.  There's also the Cognitive Space outlined above, which involves 1) Opinions and Personal Beliefs, 2) Accurate Objective Knowledge, 3) Gaps, and 4) Unexamined Misconceptions.  

Just modeling and identifying time-varying Cognitive-Emotive States is a huge challenge, both in theory and in practice.

Then comes the really hard part:  What is the optimal pedagogical intervention for any one individual at any one juncture in their learning journey as a function of their age, social status, and estimated cognitive-emotive state?

Options include:  1) Do nothing, 2) Directly instruct them, 3) Engage in a diagnostic meta-cognitive dialogue, 4) Personally model an alternative behavior, 5) Suggest or tell a germane story.

As you can see, we need to employ Emotional Intelligence, Scientific Systems Thinking, and Pedagogical Intelligence along with routine Verbal and Mathematical Intelligence to optimally intervene in a functional, constructive, and productive manner with any given correspondent.  Pretty much every element of Gardner's Catalog of Multiple Intelligences is in play.

Moulton 198 days ago