Quick sketch of Neil deGrasse Tyson receiving orders from Pluto.
I KNEW IT.
For some people, genes may prime the brain to be good at language learning, according to some new research. And studies are just starting to pinpoint a few brain regions that are extra-large or extra-efficient in people who excel at languages.
For others, though, it’s more a matter of being determined and motivated enough to put in the hours and hard work necessary to learn new ways of communicating.
“Kids do well in what they like,” said Michael Paradis, a neurolinguist at McGill University in Montreal, who compared language learning to piano, sports or anything else that requires discipline. “Kids who love math do well in math. He loves languages and is doing well in languages.”
“This is just an extreme case of a general principle,” he added. “If you practice and have a great deal of motivation for a particular domain, you’re going to be able to improve in that domain beyond normal limits.”
“The truth is that everything you do changes your brain. Everything. Every little thought or experience plays a role in the constant wiring and rewiring of your neural networks. So there is no escape. Yes, the internet is rewiring your brain. But so is watching television. And having a cup of tea. Or not having a cup of tea. Or thinking about the washing on Tuesdays. Your life, however you live it, leaves traces in the brain.”
Tom Stafford, writing about the anxiety surrounding brain attention spans in the age of the internet.
In short, everything you do changes your brain in some way. It’s better to approach these new cognitive challenges with an even keel, and not through the lens of technophobia.
A must read for fans of the brain and the internet, which you all clearly are (or else you wouldn’t be reading this).
A little English teacher humor to end the school year.
Cyclops & Jean Grey by Fabio Moon
This is going into my syllabus next year.