Friday, June 19, 2009

The Making of a Mind

According to many neuroscientists, a person’s brain can still be changed later in life. But it is most maleable before late adolescence, about 17 to 19 years old. By then a person’s mind, or character, is practically set and much harder to change.

This is borne out partially by observations on university students. Some are curious (while others are not); some are methodical; some always wait until the last minute; some are patient; some are imaginative; some are hard working; some focus only on the present and sensual; ... One can guide them according to their character; but one can hardly change them. They can certainly change themselves if they work hard on it (and some indeed have); but it is not easy.

What does that tell us about education? At least this: that kindergarten-primary-secondary schools have more impact on a student’s education than university. That a person really interested in education should be a K-12 teachers rather than a professor. That we should invest more in K-12 rather than universities.

He is not a student. But he looks rather thoughtful, doesn't he?

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