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Rita Baker writes...
Since I completed my initial teacher training in 1971, I have witnessed regularly repeating cycles of educational ‘innovation’. The pendulum swings from one extreme to the other, but ultimately, nothing changes – either in the educational outcomes, or the fact that our basic human learning needs remain constant, and still largely unmet.

At the beginning of 2013 I decided to write a tips booklet entitled ’Twelve Things that Every Teacher Should Know’. However, it was not until I started composing it  that I realised that the implications went far beyond the realm of teaching. Everything goes back to the organisation of our brains, the ways in which they develop, and the realisation that whenever we interact with others, we mess with both their brains and our own.

The single most striking fact I learnt was that of all our brain cells, including motor and sensory neurons, the vast majority are interneurons whose primary function is to detect pattern and create meaning. Yet this is so often what is lacking in education and in many other areas of our lives. Where we seek coherence and cohesion we so often find deconstruction and disconnection.

‘Brain Power’ then started to model the brain itself – with connections leading to connections. I began to find it overwhelming and unmanageable – until another thought occurred: each of us is like an individual neuron needing to connect with others to create the whole picture. So I hope this will become a collective initiative where each of us can contribute to the pool. There are so many possible entry points.

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