The Job of Your Life with Karen Schaffer

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Posts Tagged ‘Rich Maloof’

Homework in High School…did it set your neural pathways on fire?

Posted by Karen on March 6, 2009

I was reading this articleon MSN about whether or not homework was important. The author goes into a discussion about how homework is useful for academically-oriented students that get a neural “kick” from processing the information. But he goes on to say that creative thinkers, athletes and those who are good with people may not have had the same benefits.

Heller and Molnar-Szakacs both touch on the notion of multiple intelligences. Academic skills, and the homework used to sharpen them, simply do not cover the range of possible ways in which kids can shine.
Says Heller, “Students may excel at making personal connections, being creative, or having athletic ability. Generally they are not good fits for the traditional educational model, even though there are so many people whose success is based on those same talents.”

The article goes on to say:


The narrow focus of many homework curricula can strand those kids. Brilliant creative thinkers who struggle through piles of math and science assignments may complete high school without ever putting the appropriate number of miles on their neural pathways. They will experience all of the stress and little of the reward, neural or otherwise.

Unrecognized and unpotentiated, their intellect is put on hold, delaying their success and their happiness. Many will not blossom until their adult life when, of their own volition, they pursue a career that plays to their strengths.

“Children come to school thinking the world is their oyster and that anything is possible,” concludes Molnar-Szakacs, “and then every year we essentially limit their vision by teaching them how to narrow their thinking.”

Β It’s an interesting notion that some of us may need to be in a career exploration because we had our worlds “narrowed” when we were at a developing stage of our intelligence. It may explain why it seems so hard to envision new career paths or to get excited about the possibilities.


I remember back in high school saying to a friend of mine after a particularly discouraging day in the academic trenches, “You have abilities school doesn’t even begin to test”.Β It became our motto in our final year, when it seemed over-whelmingly that the only mode of success was through one version of intelligence.

So…imagine that you’re not just looking for a new career path…your brain cells are looking for new paths too.

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