Monday, July 25, 2011

The 3 R's Relationship, Reflection, Resilience - Dan Siegel

Dr Dan Siegel , the creator of the word ' mindset uses the research into interpersonal neural biology to warn us that  the present educational system is undermining brain growth and emotional development.  From a collection of video clips – see Tedx – the power of Mindsight -   he says

 by focusing just on the 3 R's  - reading, writing, and arithmetic which are the neural circuits of the physical world we are depriving kids of the power of mindsight.

He suggests that curriculum should be based on the other more important 3 R's  -  Relationship, Reflection and Resilience -  the neural circuits of the world of the mind. When we are interconnected with others, in tune with them, have insight into ourselves / others and have empathy with them, we have mind sight.  In preschool we learned social skills, to connect and share with others. In school we take on our Western culture which according to Einstein creates an optical illusion of our separateness .

Traditional teaching and the way behavior is managed promotes separateness and looking at the world as only a physical entity. We should rather than ' working with children' to help them build relationships and be reflective. The brain is the social organ of the body. When we experience reflective relationships we create resilience. Resilience is the ability to meet challenges and get up after a fall.  

The practice of mindsight promotes many middle prefrontal functions of the brain help people connect with others and be aware of themselves.

Bodily regulation  -  Attuned communication- Emotional balance-
Fear extinction- Flexibility –Insight – Empathy –Morality  - Intuition

At the end of the talk Dan Siegel talks about the different effects of Yes and No have on a child. No is negative, a pushing down , separation, which gets a kid into a reactive mode -  the fight, flight or freeze  modes. Yes – makes a connection, empowers , feelings of love. Now for sure there will be times that a parent must set limits – the best way together  the parent should do it a way which is empathic and gives reasons so the child will start to hear the Yes – the reason we need to do this ,  the opportunities presented by this new challenge rather than the NO.

This reminds me of Edward De Bono's thinking tool  - the P.M.I

People are generally critical , good at critical thinking and discounting what others say. We are good at saying No. No creates separation and stops thinking. Instead we should teach kids to first look for the Positives in what we and others say , explore beyond our narrow visions, beyond ourselves.  This is creative thinking which leads to discussion, reflection and relationship. Then we can explore together with the kid the Minuses  of the idea in a parallel way- everyone looking at the positives together and then the Minuses together, not arguing -  and finally see if we can take something Interesting from the idea.

Resilience is about reflection ,the ability to see beyond the No and explore the positive and come up with creative ideas which take us forward together.