New Orleans, Louisiana
June 26, 2016
June 26, 2016
August 28, 2016
Entrepreneurship & Engineering Innovation
This paper’s purpose is to show how knowledge of brain basics, much of which has been discovered and/or documented in the past few decades, can enhance the performance of both faculty and students. They can be more effective and efficient teachers and students and, when opportunities arise, achieve higher levels of creativity and innovation. “It’s an amazing instrument, your brain,” according to author Robert Cooper, “but it’s up to you to see that it plays the tune you want.”
This paper begins with a summary of brain features and functions, not at a brain-surgery level of detail, but rather from the perspective of immediate application outside of medicine and inside of engineering. Topics drawn from the author’s research include brain lateralization, neuroplasticity, left- and right-hemisphere capabilities, conscious mind-subconscious mind interaction, dominance of habits, negativity bias, and whole-brain thinking. While some of these topics may seem alien to teaching and studying engineering, they promise to have practical value.
In the spirit of being pragmatic, the paper describes the value of applying those brain basics at the personal productivity level by recognizing the consequences of multitasking, replacing bad habits with good habits, and offsetting our no-longer needed negativity bias.
Then the paper’s focus shifts to describing examples of whole-brain tools discovered by the author, that is, methods available to assist an individual, working alone or in collaboration with others, to engage both cranial hemispheres and the conscious and subconscious minds. The commonality of the items in this cognitive toolkit is being able to stimulate deeper and wider thinking. The goal is to generate more creative and innovative ideas, thoroughly analyze them, select a course of action, and implement it. Examples of tools are Borrowing Brilliance, Fishbone Diagramming, Medici Effect, Mind Mapping, Ohno Circle, Taking a Break, TRIZ, and Six Thinking Caps.
The paper rounds out its mission by suggesting ways in which faculty and/or students can use the combination of brain basics and whole-brain tools to enhance their performance, especially in group endeavors. Examples include viewing learning as making physical changes to the student’s brain, recognizing and offsetting the stifling effect of common negativity bias, leveraging vision as the dominant of the six senses, and engaging the potential of the left and right hemispheres and the conscious and subconscious minds.
In summary, this paper draws on a study of recent brain discoveries and related collaboration methods and shows how such knowledge and skills can enhance the performance of both faculty and students. They can be more effective and efficient teachers and students and reach even higher levels of creativity and innovation.
Walesh, S. G. (2016, June), Neuroscience 101: Might Your Teaching and Their Learning Benefit? Paper presented at 2016 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, New Orleans, Louisiana. 10.18260/p.25786
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