Tracey Tokuhama-Espinosa

How the Brain Creates the Mind

This week we look at how the brain "gives birth" to the mind and various theories of mental development throughout the lifespan.

Theories of cognitive development, or the emergence of the ability to think, understand and create, have been around for the duration of human history, however, some stand out and are particularly important for MBHE. This week we will look at two prominent theorists, Piaget and Vygotsky, and how their meticulous division and description of cognitive stages can now be correlated to specific changes in the nervous system and particularly in brain development. We will focus on their ideas related to the social nature of learning, as well as the role of language in development (and how the mind develops due to language). To complement the cognitive ideas of development, we will also consider Kohlberg's theory of Moral Stages of Development, and briefly look at Salovey and Mayer's explanation of the development of emotional intelligence. The importance of global intelligence (and the human drive to try and measure it) will also be considered. We will also look at the concept of "theory of mind" as well as the belief that humans are social creatures and need others to understand themselves and to develop their personalities. After this broad view of cognitive development, we will briefly consider specific domain development, such as mathematical learning. Finally, the learner will be asked to reflect on the how an individual's biology, social situation, emotional state, psychological well-being, stages of cognitive development and resulting academic success or failure all impact one another by looking at some specific interventions, such as Head Start.

About Tracey

Tracey is a globally recognized educational leader who professes the philosophy that change starts with one: one student, one teacher.


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