Yesterday I had an opportunity to spend an hour with Barbara Arrowsmith Young in my car.
She was being interviewed by Natasha Mitchell in Melbourne, I was driving to Canberra.
It was a fascinating discussion about personal change and neural plasticity.
I was particularly interested in the personalisation central to Barbara’s work and the role cognitive exercises play in the transformation of behaviour.
Her program is based on the philosophy that it is possible to treat learning disabilities by identifying and strengthening cognitive capacities. The program involves intensive and graduated cognitive exercises that are designed to strengthen the underlying weak cognitive capacities that are the source of the learning disabilities. Each student’s program is based on a careful assessment to identify the specific learning difficulties.
I listened to Barbara’s discussion of the seminal impact of the neuropsychologist, Alexander Luria on her thinking. After hearing of her admiration of his work I realised I must read about him too … and Mark Rosenzweig.
The interview was a reminder to me that as I explore transformative pedagogy I must extend my reading to areas I rarely visit. Perhaps this is my first cognitive exercise!