Say what you see

14th March 2008 at 00:00
Unless it's a boring man who's stating the obvious, as Kate discovers

Dear Bex,

"Right, now just to recap ... ".

Our brave neuroscience consultant leaps to the other side of his whiteboard breathlessly.

"When you engage children in learning material in a clear and direct way. What laymen call ..." he clears his throat, "teaching."

Another slide pops up on his PowerPoint presentation.

"Then your pupils will be involved in a complex neurobiological activity that those outside the profession call listening."

Steve raises his hand.

"Please, they'll be time for questions later." The consultant gestures to a complicated diagram in which a pupil's head is attacked by various red arrows.

"Now as you can see here the learning material, or in this case the textbook, is coming in through the pupil's eyes in a process that we call ..."

Graham interrupts. "Let me guess. Seeing?"

The consultant nods. "That's right. And as you can see the material is then getting processed in the pupil's head via its neural network, and coming out in a form we call ..."

"Work," prompts Annette, picking fluff out of an apple.

"Exactly. And so what this diagram shows is that we need to get rid of obstacles that obfuscate the learning process."

There is a loud grunt from the back of the room. Graham from history has fallen asleep, tie fluttering in the breeze from his nostrils.

"Can anyone tell me what those obstacles might be?"

"I don't know. Low-flying pigeons?" suggests Steve from PE.

"I'll give you a clue. It's something called opaque low-impact articulation. That's what you or I would call ..." he grins, unveiling his final slide with a flourish. " ... poor communication."

Steve gets to his feet and coughs loudly. "I think maybe it's time you indulged in some high-velocity perambulation, mate," he says. "That's a neuroscience term for b***** off."

Love Kate x.

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