The human brain has been the subject of study for literally thousands of years, and has remained something of a mystery despite the intensity of efforts and wealth of resources devoted to its understanding. That said, much has been learned about the brain’s structure, functions and relationship to the body...
The human brain has been the subject of study for literally thousands of years, and has remained something of a mystery despite the intensity of efforts and wealth of resources devoted to its understanding. That said, much has been learned about the brain’s structure, functions and relationship to the body as a whole, especially with regard to the processes by which people receive and process information. The development of advanced imaging technologies during the latter half of the 20th Century proved enormously beneficial in helping scientists to monitor reactions of the brain to myriad external stimuli, which in turn helped isolate those parts of the brain most important for learning.
The brain, of course, and as noted, is divided into sections, with much of it representing the four major sections of the cerebral cortex: the frontal, parietal, occipital, and temporal lobes, each of which is tied to the learning process. The temporal lobe regulates learning, memory, language and emotions; the frontal regulates decision-making and problem-solving; the parietal receives and processes sensory information from the body, and is responsible for the ability to form words and thoughts; and the occipital, which processes information that enters the brain through the eyes. A fault in any one of these lobes can adversely affect a child’s ability to process information and to learn.
As research involving testing and monitoring of the brain’s functions while subjected to a variety of external stimuli has enabled scientists to identify the underlying physiological causes of many learning disabilities, psychologists and others have been better equipped to address those physiological problems. Children on the so-called autism spectrum, for example, or those with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), or those suffering from depression and/or anxiety, all require particular measures designed with those disorders in mind. The more scientists and psychologists know about the brain functions of students, the better they can devise treatment options and the better educators can adapt their methodologies to accommodate students identified with some type of learning disorder.
Such adaptive methodologies, combined with psychological counseling and, when determined appropriate, medications, can aid immeasurably in the ability of distressed/stressed students to process information in a manner more conducive to the process of learning.