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La Educación
Número: (134-135) I,II
Año: 2000


Education develops the knowledge, mind, the character of the student. It begins with teaching, with transmitting information. Some teaching methods work, others do not. I have found that effective teaching must not only bring information to the student’s senses, but stimulate the brain.

Imagine a class. One morning the subject under study is the word “education”. The students sit at their desks, they look alike, possess the faculty of the five senses. The teacher writes the word on the blackboard. The same image is presented to all students. But in one student his retina might lack the neurons to detect the lines, or his retina detects the stimulus but his brain lacks the neurons to receive the stimulus, or the synapses to transmit it. The image is thus not reassembled in the student’s brain. There might be several causes for the student’s failure. Here I will discuss nutrition. If the image of the word is not properly reassembled in the brain, it as if the student has not attended class. The teacher asks. The student looks distracted, distant, silent. The teacher might enlarge the word , or color it, or brighten it, or shout it to the student; employ whatever educational method is taught. The teacher is frustrated. The student has eyes and his visual test is normal, yet it is as if the student has not seen the word.

Seeing with the brain is a complex, exquisitely sensitive wonder. The risk of failure is high. The process involves the presence and work of one hundred billion neurons, of one trillion synapses, of yet uncounted neurotransmitters. This morning anything could be happening to our student’s brain. For instance, the student might be hungry. A Jamaica study shows that children who did not receive breakfast underperformed in academic tasks, in arithmetic, in reading.

Why do hungry, malnourished children underperform? Can they not see with the brain? It is in the brain that we succeed or fail.