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What Lessons Can We Learn From Brain Research That Help Educators And Parents Understand The Complex Processes Involved In The Development Of Chil

1087 words - 5 pages

Brain research has progressed rapidly in recent years, providing a far deeper understanding of the brain and how its development shapes all other aspects of human development. There are several important aspects of brain development which have profoundly changed the way in which brain development should be considered in the context of human development per se. To understand how these developments can provide better guidance for parents and teachers alike it is important to first review these developments and then evaluate how these findings can be practically applied both at home and in child education and care settings.
Neuroscience has not only allowed for greater understanding of the ...view middle of the document...

, 2012, p80). Even prior to birth factors such as maternal nutrition, health and lifestyle affect a baby’s developing brain (McCain et al, 2007, p13 cited in Winter P., 2010, p10). Although this has always been a consideration the general perception has long been that genetic inheritance weighted more strongly than environment when it came to intelligence and character. However, current research shows that intelligence possibly only is 20% genetic and 80% environmental (Westwell, 2009 cited in Winter P., 2010, p10). It is worth noting that the actual difference between genetic and environmental contribution to intelligence has also been noted at a less marked difference of 51% environmental and 49% genetic. Although this is second figure is less pronounced, it does confirm that genetics are not the overbearing factor in human intelligence. In fact, the division of responsibility between genetic heredity and situation should be viewed more holistically than as strict percentages since both are dependent upon one another. This is not only contrary to earlier understanding but it has a significant effect on how we understand child development and the importance of parenting and pedagogy in shaping a child’s mental and physical development.
Nurture cannot happen without nature and vice versa. So, rather than considering these as two separate entities which contribute to and cause human development; it should be a symbiosis of these elements. If the interaction of genetic heredity and environment can be viewed through a holistic lens this provides a more complete picture of why human development is so influenced by environment and not just principally genes.
The influence of environment upon the brain’s development is at its greatest from conception until approximately five years of age as it is during this period the brain is developing at its fastest and is most malleable (Winter P., 2010, p15). So, although some basic development is predetermined, even these are subject to external influences and can be damaged by negative influences such as poor stimulation or inadequate nutrition (Berk L., 2013, p194).
The more complex developments which occur in the early years and define us as individuals are a result of the interdependence between environmental experiences and genetics. As a result, parents, teachers and care givers are some of the greatest contributors to a child’s life and its outcomes. Not only do they shape a child’s development but the relationship between a child and a caregiver is dynamic, influencing both the child and the adult. There is evidence to support this feedback loop...

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