Monday, November 16, 2009
A recent article in the New York Times suggests that dreams are the phenomenological result of the brain exercising itself in preparation for its next waking state. This idea of dreaming as a "protoconscious state", proposed by Dr. Hobson, a psychiatrist at Harvard University who focuses on studying sleep, adds to the body of literature that frames the brain as an organ that does work. Much like muscles need exercise to function well, so, apparently, does the brain. This view, in my opinion, supports similar findings that the brain, again like muscle, requires time after exertion to return to its resting state. Finding an educational application for this view of the brain's need for exercise to be highly functional is fairly straight-forward: we should introduce new ideas and concepts over time, in ways that the student finds engaging and authentic, so that the brain will have an opportunity to practice its work with this new material during its exercise time.