Classroom Tools - Learning and the Brain

Why do we sometimes struggle when we are learning something new? Scientists have discovered that learning is about creating and strengthening neural pathways in the brain that allow information to transfer between brain cells. The first time a signal crosses from one brain cell to another requires the greatest effort. The first trip is the most difficult, but transfer becomes easier over time. As we continue to apply effort to new challenges, we establish more stable and reliable pathways, until the connection is so strong that information transfer is effortless.

This brief clip from the BBC documentary, The Human Body, demonstrates how establishing new neural pathways between brain cells is like building a bridge to cross a ravine.

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