Growing the roots of an imaginative mind

NSW Schools: Imagination, Creativity & Critical Thinking

(Reading time: 1 min)

We each have 120 billion neurons in our brains which are highly dynamic, imaginative and adaptable. Via seeing and doing we are constantly pruning, rearranging, and growing our potential.

Even more amazingly we can directly alter the shape and size of other people’s brains (our students for example), but we have to know how and why.

We also need to put on our own gas masks first (as teachers) so we can help those beside us. This is why developing and growing imaginative, creative and critical thinking capabilities in our teachers first and foremost is super important if we want to provide it for our school kids.

One thing we know for sure………..

Enriched as opposed to Impoverished environments grow our creative potential. In 2009 neuroscientists observed that happy unstressed people had 50% more creative ability. They measured this scientifically by scanning and looking at changes in the visual cortex.

They then decided to perform experiments on rats to reconfirm the findings. They found that the rats in cages with environments that included toys, play, companionship, food and diverse forms of engagement had grown dendrites. Rats that were isolated and stressed did not.

(Look at the picture above and see what enriched neurons and dendrites look like compared to impoverished. Then think of them in terms of branches on a tree and what a healthy tree might need in order to grow. Dendritic arborisation, also known as dendritic branching, is a multi-step biological process by which neurons form new dendritic trees and branches to create new synapses, new ideas and new possibilities. The metaphor is very elegant).

Neurogenesis is the creation of new dendrites and neurons which form new neural nets and packages of information. Growing dendrites is the objective because the more dendrites we grow the more imagination we have. The more imagination we have the more creative we become and the easier it is for us to see new possibilities and perspective. This is obviously key to critical thinking.

We are extremely fortunate to have a plethora of new information available to us via EEG’s and fMRI’s that show us how we think changes our brains and therefore our outcomes. Under the right conditions we can grow a new brain at any stage of our lives. This opens up all sorts of possibilities for learning and creative thought – not only in schools and workplaces but in all facets of our lives.

NSW is focused on developing creative and critical thinking capabilities and works exclusively with Teachers and Principals to ensure they have up to date, relevant information and skills to deliver on this objective. We can to stop stressing out our teachers and start giving them the skills to grow their creative potential, but we will have to be open to trying new pedagogies based on new findings in science.

To find out more look at our courses here:

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Think about joining us in Pyrmont for V1_The Neuroscience of Imagination or consider organising for us to come to your school to begin the process of Professional Development for Teachers and Principals.

The best skills’ support a math, english, drama, science, or any other NSW Teacher can have is to accompany their technical, experiential and academic abilities with imagination and creativity. grows the roots of an imaginative mind.

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