Muscle Memory and Our Responsibility as Teachers

muscle memory, teacher responsibility,

Do you know about myelin? 


It’s the mysterious padding that grows around your nerves in response to your daily activity.  


You might have heard of it from famous books such as Daniel Doyle's " the Talent Code".  


Scientists believe it's like an insulation that forms around your nervous system’s "wiring", making your reactions quicker and more accurate. The myelin stops leaks of information from the "wiring" making learning smoother and faster.


This should be a good thing.   If you practice something you will become better and faster at it.   


But it could be a bad thing.    The trouble is the myelin forms whether the techniques learned are correct or incorrect.   Therefore, you might be learning incorrectly, becoming accustomed to doing something wrong.


We suspect this happens with some students who arrive at our school after several years English study elsewhere.  Despite years of study, reading and writing is at a very low level and subsequently, speaking skills are also low.   Have they been taught incorrectly?   Have they not learned basic phonics well?   Was their teacher teaching incorrectly?


We find this type of student will often not learn as quickly as a new student without previous English experience.  Does this type of student need to unwrap the badly constructed myelin and build the good stuff?


Parents: choose your English school carefully.   Does the school teach phonics? Are the 4 skills being taught?   Are teachers in control of the class?   Are students motivated with the materials they are using?     Is my child actually learning?  or just copying (written work and what the teacher says)


Teachers: be aware of the awesome responsibility we have to help change children's brains for the better (or worse)   First, do no harm.    And hopefully, do a lot of good.  

Write a comment

Comments: 2
  • #1

    Razia khan (Thursday, 21 June 2018 17:40)

    Hi . It’s a nice topic, but I would like to add that myelin is the sheath covering every nerve in the body . I am not sure about it’s good effects and bad effects, but scientifically speaking it’s made up of fatty tissues cells �

  • #2

    Amy (Thursday, 21 June 2018 21:27)

    Thank you Razia. We too are not sure about the good and bad effects--it's just what we've observed with our students and a possible explanation.