Recently, students in my writing class watched the video about neural pathways and summarized the information that they got from the video. They did a fantastic job, and if you read their responses, it will help you to understand the video better.
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Learning from the video, when people start to learn a new thing, their brain will create a contact to cross the tiny gap between every Neuron. Although the gap seems to be small, in our daily life it can still be a deep gap. Learning a new thing is like crossing a deep gap. Like a huge mountain you’ve never known or visited, the new things stands there, waiting for you. However, to climb the mountain, first you should try your best to cross the gap. How difficult it is! The first attempt is always not only quite hard but also dangerous. Using tools, the people in the video are trying to build a bridge between here and the other side. Feeling scared, some may stop and give up, and some may hesitate. Only by being brave enough, can you be successful. Also, on the trip, there are always some failures which may dull your enthusiasm, telling that you are a loser and you can’t finish you work. Therefore, it’s important for us to insist on trying again and again. Naturally, we will gradually become more and more skillful. As the saying goes, “Rome was not built in a day”. As time goes by, finally we will find we are successful.
In my opinion, understanding neural paths is really important because that knowledge would make it possible to change some undesirable habits and to make learning like an exercise routine. First, changing some undesirable behaviors is possible by repeatedly exchanging the undesirable action for another more acceptable action. On the other hand, learning new things is not only fun but it creates new paths in the brain which is an awesome exercise.
Good Habits Make You Feel Like You’re Gonna Die. Published on May 31, 2012 by Loretta Graziano Breuning, Ph.D. in Your Neurochemical Self
What’s a neural pathway, and why does it matter?. Published on June 04, 2014 in ellen’s esl teaching blog
We learn so many things in our life, and indeed, sometimes, learning new things is not easy for us. But we have something incredible in our brain that takes this new information, rearranges it, and keeps it until we need it. So how could our brain do this for us? Does it have some kind of miracle to help it?
Learning is about creating pathways. Our brain has billions of neurons and cells. Neurons help to connect brain cells to each other. Signals and electric impulses go thru neurons and between every brain connection in tiny gap called synapses. All the new things that we learn are through these electric signals. The electric signals have to jump to cross this gap and get from one side to other.
If I’d like to give you an example from life, I can use a mountain climber. They sometimes have to cross a deep ravine. Crossing a ravine for a climber is very similar to the electric signals crossing the gaps. Maybe you have to make a pathway between sides and this is not a thing you can do for the first time. After you cross the ravine, then you can do it again and again, and it gets easer. To learn something new is similar to crossing a ravine, so we need pathways. When the signals cross the gap between our cells again and again, we establish the most solid pathway, which is a neural pathway. These neural pathways help us to learn something new, and they are the miracles in our brain.
Neural pathways help to link relatively distant areas of the brain or nervous system, associated with the local communication of grey matter. It helps us to learn new knowledge and to create new pathways trough the repetition process. The learning process is not easy, and it involves patience and time.
For that reason, when we are learning a new language or studying for a subject, we should have time to concentrate, practice and repeat the procedure. Especially knowing, when it is our first time studying or learning a material, it’s always difficult to process the information. The second time, it becomes a little easier, and successively, it becomes easier until you create a solid pathway. As a result, our brain internally changes, strengthening and creating new pathways in our brain, developing our knowledge and our way of thinking.
What’s a neural pathway, and why does it matter?
A neural pathway is a road where something new passes to the brain. When we learn anything new, it is difficult, complicated, hard and sometimes confusing, but if we learn and study continuously and repeat new information constantly, our brains will organize to accommodate the new ideas and we’ll able to use new information easily. For example, I had a poor sense of directions so I couldn’t go anywhere without navigation in Korea. However, I drove a lot to meet my customers everyday for my job and now, I know the main road and street of most cities and I can find route to anywhere easily without navigation. It was possible because of repetitive experience.
Neural pathways are the connections that transmit messages between brain nerves. They are formed from childhood when we start to learn for the first time. Then, they are intensified by more learning exercises. The more we learn, the more our connections are boosted and finally they are solidified. However, there are many learning pathways. It is possible to change a pathway or retrain the damaged part of the brain by exercising. Scientific methods can be used for retraining the brain. Transforming our common habits and setting a strong intention would be a useful way. High motivation can send our brain more pulses to make connections for learning. Focusing on outcomes of negatives habits can also motivate our brain to stop them and find a new positive way. However, it is very important to have a substitution for a negative habit. For example, we can replace smoking with jogging when we are stressed. Another important issue in retraining the brain is determination. If we believe that we can change a negative habit, our brain will be motivated and change unintentionally.