A miraculous mass of cells

Many years ago I went to the Body Worlds exhibit. You know the one: human bodies on display preserved through a process called plastination. The overwhelming feeling I had visiting this exhibit was one of awe.

How is it that we function each and every day? Our bodies are a miraculous mass of cells working together seemingly inexplicably. It struck me as nothing short of extraordinary that we function everyday as we do given the complexity of our bodies and brains.

I recently read the book My Stroke of Insight by Dr. Jill Bolte Taylor. Dr. Taylor, a brain scientist, experienced a massive stroke in 1996. In the book she chronicles her experience including the stroke itself and her eight-year recovery. She was forced to relearn all of the things she had once learned as a toddler and young child.

Again I was struck with a sense of awe.

The human body’s capability to learn, relearn, adapt to our environment, process external stimuli, understand our spacial world, generate meaning from a string of symbols… all seem incredible feats. These capabilities exist in most of us, most of the time, without our even thinking about them.

I marvel at the learning that goes on each day with our students. Given the complexity of the human brain it is no surprise that we have students who find learning difficult. It can be a puzzle to determine precisely what the difficulty might be. We may never fully understand the science behind their learning difficulties, but we can certainly uncover strategies to help all students learn.

I cannot even begin to imagine all that is at work right now in my brain as I type these words!

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