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Firing, Wiring & Rewiring! Creating pathways to your brilliant brain

Focus Groups for Children

Week 1. Who Am I? And Who Is Brian?

Aim: The aim of BEST is to teach life skills, mixed with some science, so that one can understand how the thoughts that pop into your head, create the emotions that you feel, and because of that, the actions we then take and possibly the behaviour that follows.

This week we look at ‘who we are’ and how we are the same and yet different, from the person sitting next to us. We uncover our personality traits that make up our unique selves.

Week 2. Brian’s Brain

Aim: Knowing who we are is one thing. Understanding how we think and feel and why we do the things we do is something else! This week we meet Brian’s best friend – his brain and learn more about what goes on underneath our hair!

Week 3. How do we Learn? – Our own Philharmonic Orchestra

Aim: For us to learn anything our nerve cells have to join in a way that makes them ‘Fire and Wire together.’ Firing together of nerve cells is done mostly under the control of the emotional brain, therefore, the more emotion involved in a situation the more we will remember or learn from it. The neurones form patterns within our brains and work in the same way as a well-practiced orchestra.

Week 4. How a Chemical Duet creates a Learning Melody

Aim: Huge symphonies of billions of nerve cells are playing in wonderful harmony as the brain processes and stores up all the information in the forms of patterns and templates being wired together over years of learning, making who we are today. So, what has to happen to make that pattern form? How do we learn somethings and not others? What do we need to do to remember stuff?

Week 5. Brian’s ‘Fight or Flight’ meets Great Aunt Maud!

Aim: The Reptile brain is linked very closely with our Amygdala, which means our survival instincts are connected very closely to our emotions. As well as the reptile brain keeping us alive through our hearts beating and lungs breathing etc, it is also an important link to our Fight or Flight response. We are all different and react in different ways when anxious angry or stressed, but our primal instincts are the same, it all depends on how much we respond to them.

Half Term

Week 6. It’s Not About How Clever You Are – But – How You Are Clever!

Aim: We have built up a good profile about who we are and what we like, what we feel and how to read other people’s feelings.

This week we have a look at ‘The theory of Multiple Intelligences’ proposed by Harvard psychologist, Howard Gardner in 1983. Here he suggested that all people have different kinds of “intelligences.” In order to capture the full range of abilities and talents that people possess, Gardner theorizes that people do not have just an intellectual capacity, but have many kinds of intelligence, including musical, interpersonal, spatial-visual, and linguistic intelligences. We delve deeper into our many different strengths.

Week 7. Labels Don’t Define Us – Our Actions Do!”

Aim: School, at whatever level – Primary, Secondary, University, is a place where we constantly compare ourselves to others. We compare our grades, our reading levels and scores in maths and spellings. We compare our sporting ability, our artistic talents. As we get older, we compare the way we dress, who we ‘hang out with’ and our popularity within a class. A ‘Growth mindset’ is having the belief that you can change if you apply yourself to a task. It is the belief that people are not set in concrete, that labels don’t define them and that they can achieve what they set their minds to.

Week 8. Why Can’t I Quit? What Would Brian Say?!

Aim: We all know that a lot of annoying things pop up in life. Usually they are temporary obstacles, like getting chicken pox the day of a really exciting school trip, making silly mistakes in your maths test, friendship or family squabbles. How we handle these kinds of situations depends on how resilient we are. How calm we remain when facing things that frustrate us or we find difficult. We have a look at fictional characters to understand Resiliency.

Week 9. Practice Doesn’t Make Perfect – but – It Does Create a Growth Mindset!

Aim: Setting goals is an important part of having a growth mindset, it is something that you will continue to do your whole life. What one needs to focus on is not so much the end result but the journey we take on getting there. In order to reach some goals, we must do something called ‘deliberate practice.’ This type of practice is deliberate and planned in improving our performance. It is not just about repeating something over and over without really thinking about it – it is about focusing on what you are practicing and why you are practicing it.

Week 10. Neural pathways and the Journey Ahead

Aim: You and only you can get to plan how you want your future to be. A growth-mindset means that you believe that you can learn and grow through effort. Our brains are like stretchy plastic called Neuroplasticity. Your brain can be made stronger by pushing yourself to try new ways, failing and learning from mistakes! Resilience grows from our ability to learn from the mistakes that we make and being able to ‘bounce back’ and use those experiences to change our neural pathways, not make us perfect, but to strive to do our best. We take a look at how we have ‘grown our brains’ this term.

Week 11. Putting it altogether – Party time!