The Neuroscience of Learning: Brain Fitness for all Ages Fit Brains Learn Better

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The Neuroscience of Learning: Brain Fitness for all Ages
Fit Brains Learn Better
Martha S. Burns, Ph.D

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  • 1. The New Science of Learning The Neuroscience of Learning: • We used to think we were born Brain Fitness for all Ages with brain capacity – We inherited it from our parents Martha S. Burns, Ph.D – We did the best we could Fall, 2011 – If a child couldn’t learn they were just not smart • We now know all that is changed Fit Brains Learn Better The incredible story of Gabby If Gabby Giffords can talk again Giffords • Gabby Giffords was elected to the • With much of her left hemisphere gone House of Representatives in 2007 for • All of your students can learn the state of Arizona • She was shot in the head Jan. 8, 2011 • The bullet went through her forehead and destroyed much of the left side of her brain – the side that talks • Here she is today3 4 1
  • 2. Foundations for a New Science of Learning DeHaene, 2009Neurons that fire together wire together in networks 2
  • 3. MATHEMATICS SKILLS - Identifying the aSLF. Specific These pathways connect the The New Science of Learning pathways in inferior parietal the left lobe/IPS with hemisphere precentral and communicate inferior frontal signals regions. Tsang et 1. What these regions do and….. between al., used regions that diffusion- • How they are connected via are active weighted data to during mental estimate this superhighway system white matter arithmetic tract. Theyecall • How the highways develop in early tasks. this tract the anterior superior years longitudinal fasciculus (aSLF). Tsang J M et al. PNAS 2009;106:22546-22551©2009 by National Academy of Sciences Different dimensions of adult cortical plasticity are enabled by the Neuronal Communication System behaviorally-context-dependent release of: • acetylcholine (focused attention/reward) (Kilgard, Bao) • dopamine (reward, novelty) (Bao) • norepinephrine (novelty) (Bollinger) • serotonin (Bollinger) • Adenosine 5’-triphospate (ATP) released by axons and stimulates myelination (Ishibashi) • et alia In infants, exposure-based plasticity is relatively uniform. In older children, learning-induced changes are complexly “nuanced” by differences in behavioral context that result in the differential release of 6 or 7 modulatory neurotransmitters. 3
  • 4. How does reading become superimposed on language? Grade 3+ Reading development pyramid -- upper levels depend upon a solid base Grades 1-2 below Kindergarten 4 to 5 year old skills 3 to 4 year old development 2 - 3 year old development Birth to 2 year development Who? What? A unified sound wave coming from an unseen talker is analyzed to produce two distinct percepts—Who spoke and What was said. P K Kuhl Science Aug. 19 2011;333:529-530 Early Language Development • The foundation for reading • The precursor for reading • For some children, the bottleneck that limits success • Children differ in language experience P K Kuhl Science 2011;333:529-530Published by AAAS 4
  • 5. Organization of cortical responses to spoken language in 3 m old infants. Birth to 2 years 1. Child is born - normal hearing and cognitive potential 2. Makes generalizations about sounds around him/her •speech sounds versus environmental sounds •recognizes speech sounds of own language 3. Uses own language sounds in babbling then early speech •full repertoire of native language phonemes by 18mo.-2 years •early adjectives (good, hot), verbs (see, want, go), pronouns (me,you) 10-12 months - first word H 18 months - 10-20 words; 2 yr.- two word phrases; 200 words Dehaene-Lambertz, et. al, 2006 e a ri n g lo s s w it h ONormal Development of the Brain Maps for Hearing M E Brain maps depend on hearing the sounds Zhang, Bao & Merzenich, Nature Neurosci 2001 Zhang, Bao & Merzenich, Nature Neuroscience, 2001 5
  • 6. Structural MRI Studies of Language Function (Fiona M. Richardson, Cathy J. Price, The New Science of Learning Brain Struct Funct (2009) 213:511–523) • The relationship between vocabulary How educators build left knowledge and brain structure in 47 hemisphere hubs that participants ages 7 to 75 years. support learning and the • The relationship between vocabulary networks and make them knowledge and posterior supramarginal grey matter was also more efficient studied in 16 teenage participants Plots of grey-matter density are based on data by Gogtay et al. 2004 and illustrate Richardson and Price, 2009 the local grey-matter density in the mid-dorsolateral prefrontal cortex in red, in the angular gyrus of the parietal cortex in blue, in the posterior superior temporal sulcus of the temporal cortex in purple, and in the occipital pole in green. Fig. 1 Structural variance with vocabulary knowledge in the posterior supramarginal gyrus. Locations of the peak co-ordinates from the following studies: red Mechelli et al. (2004), blue Lee et al. (2007), and green Richardson et al. (2009).The correlation of vocabulary knowledge with grey matter in the left posteriorsupramarginal gyrus in teenage years, but not later in life, suggests that thisregion is engaged in learning more typically exploited within formaleducation, e.g.learning to link new words with specific lexical equivalents. 6
  • 7. Ability to Easily Learn a Foreign Language (Richardson and Price, 2009) • Those who were able to learn an unknown So what foreign language – showed a greater left hemisphere asymmetry in about the parietal lobes reading? – and also had more white matter (fiber tracts) in left hearing and language temporal lobe region • Affirms other research that found increased grey matter in the auditory cortex in those with good Viking Press auditory perception – Also observed in musicians (Gaser and Schlaug 2003; Schneider et al. 2002) December 2009 – as well as for those with an aptitude for learning tonal languages such as Mandarin, where pitch is particularly important for distinguishing between words (Wong et al. 2008) a | Training for arithmetic problems leads to decreasing engagement of the inferior parietal cortex (shown in yellow) and increasing recruitment of Turkeltaub et al Nature the angular gyrus (shown Neuroscience 2003 in blue). b | a moving time window of 200 scans and reveals that there are significant changes in activity of the angular gyrus (shown in green) after only approximately 8 repetitions of a problem27 28 7
  • 8. How Learning to Read Changes the Cortical Networks for Vision and Language Science 330, 1359 (2010); Stanislas Dehaene, et al.Literacy Enhances Brain Responses in Three Ways (DeHaene, 2010) The New Science of Learning • Boosts organization of the visual cortex • Allows practically the entire left hemisphere Reasons some children may spoken language network to be activated by enter school with good written sentences learning potential • Refines spoken language processing by …….but a brain that is not enhancing the phonological region yet ready to read 8
  • 9. Kindergarten Language Exposure and SES Cumulative Effects of Effects of Low Language phonological awareness Language Experience Development on Reading Indicators of Understands and potential reading uses 2000+ words verbal memory - sentence 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 1314 15 High Oral 45 Million Words repetition and story recall Language in Estimated Cumulative Words High SES difficulty are Speech is 80% correct Kindergarten 5.2 reductions in: expressive vocabulary Reading Age Level Follows 2-3 step command years (In Millions) 26 Million Words difference MLU = 4.3 words - full complete Middle SES rapid serial naming Low Oral sentences used with good, but Language in not perfect, grammatical form receptive sentence Kindergarten Names all upper & lower case letters 13 Million Words comprehension Low SES 5 0 12 24 36 48 Age 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 of Child (In Months) Age of Child (In Years) (Hart and Risley, 1995) (Loban, 1967; Hirsch, 1996) Fig. 1 Developmental Progression in Language Acquisition and Emergence of Achievement Gaps ELL Associated with Income and Race. • Need to build the ability to perceive internal detail to words • Phonics instruction is a much less transparent in English than many other languages – Much easier to learn to read Spanish than English (DeHaene, 2009)Published by AAAS D K Dickinson Science 2011;333:964-967 9
  • 10. ELL prevalence Second Language Learning • According to the 2000 census, nearly one-third of children ages 5 years and older speak Spanish at • Affects the way the brain is organized for home. language – Add the under-5 population and the percentage is even higher. • Differs depending upon when the second – Due to continued immigration and globalism, the language is learned bilingual population will continue to grow in Texas. • After the critical period requires the same • 5-8% of these children exhibit a speech-language developmental criteria as the first language problem in their native language which will require remediation in addition to bilingual educationLearning a Second Language During Critical Period Learning a Second Language After Critical Period Birth to 5 Years After Birth to 5 Years 10
  • 11. Oral Language• Over 80% of classroom ? instruction is presented through talking• Language processing, primarily at the level of phonology, is the primary cause of reading and spelling problems 11