Educators educating Educators

Sep 26


The picture below illustrates structural changes associated with Long-Term Potentiation (LTP) in hippocampus. The cells are filled with fluorescent dye. In B, one hour after stimulus, one can see the sprouting of new dendritic spines to connect to neighboring nerve cells. This structural change is part of the cellular basis of learning.

John Ratey, Associate Clinical Professor of Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School, refers to the picture below “as porn to a neuroscientist.”


Ratey X-rated movie

How the Brain changes

John Ratey refers to teachers as “plasticity guides” and “brain surgeons” because when a student learns as the result of their teaching, the student’s brain is physically changed forever.

“Plasticity of the brain is a fact.  Teachers are what I call: Plasticity Guides”

Dr. John Ratey, Associate Clinical Professor of Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School


Ratey Actual Growth


Ratey A-B-C




Synapse spines


Synapse diagram


Welcome back to another school year. I hope your summer was relaxing and invigorating and you are looking forward to the approaching school year and the opportunity to stimulate and challenge your students’ minds.

This summer I was able to study Sir Ken Robinson, a British author, speaker and international advisor on education to governments, non-profits, and education organizations

I, like many people, find his writings and Ted Talks not only witty and inspiring but also thought-provoking and challenging. Much of his work deals with the diversity of intelligence, the power of imagination and creativity, and the importance of commitment to our own capabilities. He posits that the noticeable lack of them in our schools negatively affect students’ learning and teachers’ productivity and the absence of them is triggered by the demands of standardized testing.

I hope you find Sir Ken Robinson’s words inspiriting and challenging as I do and be mindful of them as you plan for the new year. Here is to a great 2017-2018 school year!