In the Mood for School

Goldie Hawn

Actress Goldie Hawn, from the feature article "Golden Opportunity" in the March/April 2010 issue of Neurology Now. Photo courtesy of Goldie Hawn and Judy Willis.

In the March/April 2010 issue of Neurology Now magazine, actress Goldie Hawn and neuroscientists Dr. Judy Willis speak on their MindUp! program that is revolutionizing the field of childhood education. In the article, Golden Opportunity,the two women weigh in with their unique experience in learning. Hawn expressed the difficulties she faced as a child dealing with her own dyslexia and reading comprehension problems, and later the problems she faced as a mother herself, struggling to keep her children interested in learning in a system that “seemed like drudgery.” At the other end of the spectrum is Dr. Willis, neuroscientist and middle-school teacher, who explains in uncomplicated detail the process by which the brain learns–more importantly, how detrimental a stressed brain can be in the process of learning.

Sound like a fun read…Actually, it is! Its a rather short article but its packed full of information that better helps a teacher understand just how your student is feeling, and helps the student understand just why they feel like a dear in headlights in all things learning. The idiom is also rather accurate…but, you’ll have to read the article to find out why (yes, this is our dastardly ploy to get you to read the article!).

But this article isn’t all just about the mechanics of the brain…ok, well mostly it is, but underneath all that science is MindUp!, the 15 lesson curriculum designed by the two women to “equip children with the social and emtoional skills they need to lead smarter, healthier, and happier lives…[by teaching] children how their brains operate…[and] in doing so, give them a sense of control, that they can form and grow their brains the way they want to” (p 15-16).

Best part, the curriculum is easy to incorporate in any classroom by teacher and student alike. Wait, did we say that was the best part? Well, perhaps then a close second place is that the curriculum is FREE. A curriculum overview can be found on the Hawn Foundation’s website. The full curriculum will be published this fall by Scholastic.

Click here to read the feature article, “Golden Opportunity,” on the Neurology Now website. A PDF version of the article can also be found on the article page.

The Hawn Foundation website

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