Following is the full transcript of neurobiologist Dr. Daniel J. Siegel’s TEDx Talk: Rewiring our Brain in a Healthy Way at TEDxBlue conference. This event occurred on October 18, 2009 in New York.
Dr. Daniel J. Siegel – Neurobiologist and Director of the MindSight institute
Hello everyone, how are you?
First, I’d like to thank Matt for that lovely introduction and to thank the Blue Man School people and everyone associated with Blue Man, and to thank Chris Anderson and TED for really allowing us to have this day together to talk about the potential of schools.
So with the notion of Ideas Worth Spreading, I am actually going to only present one idea to you – that we have to totally revamp education. And that idea is to look at the basic “R”s of education: reading, writing, arithmetic, and consider that in addition to those important skills, we need to offer three more Rs: The “R” of reflection, relationships, and resilience.
What I am going to do is share with you a little story about education and then go with you through these steps by which these new “R”s can become a part of education, not only here in New York, but everywhere, where it’s a different way of thinking about things. Like in any talk, you want to get to know a little bit about the person speaking, so I’ll just talk you about this kid, and the idea is that we all start out as this kid, who is exposed to certain things, not only in a family life, but if they go to school, early on in life, those experiences we have actually shape the brain.
So our genes, of course, affect the connections in the brain, but the experiences we have shape this brain. So if we’re just given reading, writing and arithmetic as the basic things that then get elaborated over and over and over again, it’s going to shape the brain in a certain fashion.