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A recent article examined the idea that children are taught too little about their own brains.

It sounds a bit crazy, but actually makes real sense.

Research over the last decade has shown that children up to teenage years have very little concept of what the brain is or does. At best, they conceive of it as the thinking center of the body where ideas “happen”. Younger children think of the brain more as a kind of receptacle for memories and facts, rather than an active agent.

Of course, neither is not way off the mark – the brain is responsible for both of those activities. But that’s only the tip of the iceberg.

Our brains, often considered the last frontier of human biology, are amazing processing machines responsible for everything we feel, think and experience during our waking and sleeping hours. Thoughts, emotions, and information from those classic “five senses” are received, assessed, synthesized, stored, turned into action…and so much more.

“So kids have it a little wrong,” you say. “What’s the big deal? Don’t they eventually learn it?”

A psychologist named Carol Dwerck has performed research studies on children who are taught a short lesson about the brain. She has posited that children who understand that their brain is adaptive and can change, grow and learn are much more likely to cope with setbacks. They show perseverance in completing a task that they would not otherwise believe they are able to do.

And that seems like something worth the extra lesson planning, and then some.


Sarah Forrest is a Program Coach for the Easyread System, an online phonics course for children with dyslexia, auditory processing disorder and highly visual learning styles. Find out more at or join our community at