Sunday, April 10, 2005

Damaged past the point of educability

Most people involved in educational reform are speaking of curricular
programs when the truth of the matter is the children they are
dealing with now are, by and large, damaged past the point of
educability in any real sense. The public has yet to recognize this
is so. The clearest indications of such damage recently came out of
Tunbingen University in Germany with a twenty year study of four
thousand people. It shows three significant findings as a result of
the failure to furnish appropriate sensory stimulation for growth.

First, there has been an average of one percent per year reduction in
the sensory sensitivity of the human system and the ability to bring
in information from the outside world. Compared to children twenty
years age, the children we are looking at now are comprehending or
registering information from their environment at eighty percent,
which simply means they are twenty percent less consciously aware of
where they are and what is happening around them.

Secondly, the kind of stimulus that does break through the reticular
activating system in the ancient reptilian brain, the brain stem, is
only highly concentrated bursts of over-stimulation. That is, the
only signals they're really bringing in from their environment are
those bursts of stimuli which are highly charged. If it's sound, it
must be a loud sound. If it's touch, it must be an impact. If it's
visual, it must be intense. Subtleties cannot catch their attention
because they are not sensitive to their environment. One comparison
is that twenty years ago a child or young person was able to
differentiate 360 shades of red, and today are down to something like
130 shades, which means the subtleties are lost to the pure, heavy
impact of red now necessary to penetrate the reticular system. Once
we look into the whole developmental system, the implications are

The third finding of the German study is that the brain is
maladapting on a level which seems almost genetically impossible.
That is, the brains of these young people are not cross-indexing the
sensory systems, so there is no synthesis taking place in the brain.
Sight is simply a radical series of brilliant impressions which do
not cross index with touch, sound, smell and so forth. There is no
context created for sensory input, each is an independent, isolated
event. It explains why so many kids get intensely bored unless they
are subject to intense input.


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