I always knew that relationships with others were important in helping to shape a human into the person that they are. But what I did not realise, is how much our relationships with others actually impacts our brain development.
The video by Education Scotland with Suzanne Zeedyk, changed my thinking on how the brain develops as before I would have thought, why is the child not adjusting to this environment? However, because the brain can adapt to develop in many different environments and circumstances, the key pathways that are created in relation to the world they grow up in are carried into adulthood. This means, if a child’s brain is programmed to be looking for a threat, for example through violence at home, it is so understandable why they would not settle very easily compared to children that come from more calm and relaxed backgrounds. This can also affect their learning, as if the child is spending a lot of their time and energy on looking for and dealing with stress, they will not have the same opportunities to explore and learn about the world around them.
This presents a new challenge for me as a teacher, as the way I act and put myself across in a class can ultimately impact the ways in which children’s brains develop. I find this quite daunting but at the same time exciting because although it is a lot of responsibility, I could influence someone’s life for the better. I could show them through a welcoming and trusting environment that not everything in life is a threat and sometimes it is okay to relax and enjoy things. This in turn may allow them to investigate the world around them and learn new knowledge and skills. Suzanne Zeedyk said in the video, “the question to ask ourselves is. What kind of brain am I asking my child to develop in order to cope with this world we’ve presented them with?” I think this new viewpoint on brain development will definitely change my viewpoint on child development and make me more aware that how a child reacts is down to how their brains have developed. Also, that I should do as much as possible to shape them to deal with other aspects of the world, they may have previously been unaware of.