How does the brain function? How do we learn? Understanding the basic path of learning and memory is a key to a better understanding of teaching and learning. The basic path of information and how the brain processes it using the concept of the HIGH road versus the LOW road gives teachers and learners an edge in getting information processed into long-term memory.
What is important is that by avoiding student exposure to FEAR, ANXIETY, STRESS and THREAT, learning can take place at a high level.
The HIGH road and LOW road as shared by John Parks Le Tellier and Quantum Learning.
Sensory information (Visual, Auditory and Kinesthetic) from the outside world enters the brain and is first sent to the THALAMUS. This part of the brain acts as a relay station and transfers information TWO directions at the same time.
One direction is called the HIGH road where information is transferred to the appropriate SENSORY cortices. The sensory information then converges to WORKING MEMORY in the prefrontal cortex. Working memory can only focus on ONE thing at a time. Our goal as teachers is to capture and hold WORKING MEMORY.
The other direction that sensory information travels from the thalamus is called the LOW road to the emotional control center of the brain, the AMYGDALA. One of the responsibilities of the amygdala is to process emotions related to FEAR, ANXIETY, STRESS and THREAT.
When amygdala is high, prefrontal cortex (working memory) activity is LOW.
When amygdala is low, prefrontal cortex (working memory) activity is HIGH.
By ensuring students are exposed to information that will be processed on the HIGH road, the better chance the information has to become WORKING MEMORY that can be converted to LONG-TERM MEMORY. See the infographic for details of this conversion.
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