January 13th, 2012

“Beautiful Brains” Pt 2

In my first “Beautiful Brains” blog (30th December) I talked about the impact of the development of connections between different areas of the brain on young peoples decision-making processes. There are other areas of brain development that impact behaviour choices during adolescence by prompting them to seek different sensations. This causes young people to be more likely to take risks. This is often perceived as an undesirable characteristic of young people and does sometimes result in negative and/or dangerous behaviour. However the search for new forms of stimulation also leads young people into useful experiences that enable them to meet new people, discover interests and develop skills.

Howard Gardner’s theory of Multiple Intelligences suggests that traditional forms of education work against this development process by requiring young people to specialize too early on. He argues that in order to benefit fully from this physiological phenomenon young people should be encouraged to pursue a broad range of subjects and experiences (not just academic) until they are much older. This is something that the Canaan Project aims to support. We actively seek to offer young people experiences that they wouldn’t otherwise have whether it be jumping off a pier as part of a residential trip, visiting a workplace or playing football with a member of their community that they didn’t previously know. We believe that we are helping young people to seek stimulation in positive places and discover the building blocks for aspiration.


David Dobbs, 2011. Beautiful Brains. http://ngm.nationalgeographic.com/2011/10/teenage-brains/dobbs-text

Howard Gardner, 2006. Multiple Intelligences: New Horizons. Basic Books.