Tip #223: Debunking Myths About Learning While Seated
This week, our Tip refers to information drawn from a magnificent book: How the Brain Learns, by David A. Sousa (Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin Press, 2006).
Dr. Sousa discusses recent findings by neuroscientists about how the brain learns and what that means to us as trainers. He begins with a wonderful statement: ÓTeachers try to change the human brain every day. The more they know about how it learns, the more successful they can be.”[p.5]
Neuroscience has proven that standing up and moving around increases our ability to think and learn. I have emphasized the portions of the following quotes that I found most compelling:
According to Dr. Sousa, “Although (the brain) represents only about 2 percent of our body weight, it consumes nearly 20 percent of our calories! The more we think, the more calories we burn.”[page 15]
“Brain cells consume oxygen and glucose (a form of sugar) for fuel. The more challenging the brain’s task, the more fuel it consumes. Therefore, it is important to have adequate amounts of these substances in the brain for optimum functioning.”[p.23]
“When we sit for more than twenty minutes, our blood pools in our seat and in our feet. By getting up and moving, we recirculate that blood. Within a minute, there is about 15 percent more blood in our brain. We do think better on our feet than on our seat!“[p.34]
Clearly, it is important to make sure that participants get a chance to move as often as possible, to keep their brains sufficiently oxygenated so they function well. Isn’t it nice to have brain research support what we have figured out for ourselves, either intuitively or through our own experience?