Author Name: Dr. Pat Wolfe, Ed.D
Posted: August 7, 2019
Course: EDUC 714Q Student Learning and the Brain
Dr. Pat Wolfe, Ed.D. is the author of Brain Matters, which is used in the course EDUC 714Q Student Learning and the Brain. Dr. Wolfe wrote the following paragraph as an introduction to her book.
I remember clearly how excited I was to begin my first year of teaching. I had chosen what I felt was a noble profession, an opportunity to make an impact on the lives of children. I loved learning and couldn’t wait to instill that love in the children I would teach. But during my first year, reality set in. Teaching was so much more difficult than I had imagined. My teacher preparation courses had been aimed at a general population as if every child came from the same mold. But my classes were filled with children who were quite different from one another. What worked with one student or class didn’t work with the next. The problem that stands out the most was teaching first-graders to read. No matter what I tried, only about two-thirds of the students finished the year reading. Different problems surfaced as I changed teaching assignments. How on earth could I make history meaningful to middle-school students? Why did algebra make sense to only a few of my secondary math students?
Then, one day attending a researcher’s lecture at a conference, I heard the term neuroscience for the first time. I was hooked! Maybe the research on the brain could provide solutions to some of my problems. After all, we are teaching children’s brains, so wouldn’t it make sense to find out how they worked? It occurred to me that we were like orthopedic surgeons who knew nothing about the structural anatomy of the human body. Thus my journey began. Over the past 30 years, I have read everything I could about the human brain, much of it over my head! I have attended scientific conferences, talked to, and emailed neuroscientists with my questions. I arranged seminars where the scientists discussed their research and engaged in dialog with teachers. After moving out of the classroom into a staff development position, I developed workshops for teachers designed to help them see the connections and the possible links between the research and their teaching practices. And finally, I spent two years writing a book entailing all I believed I’d learned about the vital connection between brain research and education. I certainly don’t have all the answers, none of us do, but as the research continues to accelerate; I believe educators will continue to benefit from the findings. I truly believe that the better we understand the brain, the better we will be able to help all our students reach their fullest potential.
With best wishes,
Pat Wolfe, Ed.D.
I enjoyed this course tremendously. Very beneficial to my teaching. Thank you, Dr. Wolfe!
Dr. Wolfe, your paragraph is very insightful. I've now and an 'ah-ha' moment. You are absolutely right. We are teaching children's brains. I look forward to diving into your course and learning how I can shape my teaching to meet their needs.