Friday, June 8, 2012

Learning is a Never Ending Journey

“Instruction begins when you, the teacher, learn from the learner; put yourself in his place so that you may understand… what he learns and the way he understands it.”-- Soren Kierkegaard

Phineas Gage was a cheerful builder until one day, in the 19th century, he fell from a ladder and a metal pole got stuck in his head. Phineas lived for many more years after the accident but what surprised his physicians was the complete change in his personality. Phineas became an angry and a violent man (who wouldn’t? With a pole stuck in your head). That was the first time scientists realized that our brain is in charge of our behavior and cognitive functions and that the brain is flexible and constantly changes due to the ability of our neurons to re-wire and make new connections. 

This is how our 7th graders are introduced to the science of the brain, where they design experiments to test how music and visuals (from optical illusions, to art, to video games) can affect our learning and our ability to conduct daily chores.

Over the past few weeks we've had the opportunity to meet many parents. Some, during our community meetings, some in school milestones, some in personal meetings in our office and others informally in the hallways. Again and again, these meetings reminded us that we, educators, need to continuously learn and put ourselves in the shoes of the learner, be it a child or a parent. They also showed us that honesty and transparency are crucial when building long term relationships and developing a partnership towards a great education of our children.

KSA, like our brain, is a dynamic environment. We have always striven to provide our students with an excellent education that is tailored to the needs of the individual learner. While this outstanding foundation remains the same, KSA is updating some of its internal wiring, based on our own reflections, as well as lessons we've learned from parents and students, so we can grow from good to great. By creating personal goals for students, an experiential learning environment and opportunities for students to become academic and social leaders we are inspired by the words of Thomas Jefferson “ There is nothing more unequal than the equal treatment of unequal people."

Shabbat Shalom
Rabbi David and D-Res (Dr. Nitzan Resnick)

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