Educators educating Educators

Jul 23


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


In case you get bored with the lazy days of summer and want to get a jump preparing for the coming school year, I added to Stuff4Educators a section called How to Study Better based on research from Harvard Medical School that highlights four science-backed ways towards better learning (Hint: drop the highlighter). Additionally, I posted a YouTube video under exercise from the Dana Foundation that won the Northwest Emmy award called Exercise and the Brain that explores the benefits of exercise on the brain and learning. Finally, some books that I have read this past year and found to be stimulating are listed.