Introducing Kuriosity Lab’s Learning Is a Ball Newsletter 

To learn Joyously through Curiosity, Joy, and Movement — Especially for High School Academic Skills

“We’re feelers who think, not thinkers who feel.”

– Antonio Damasio, the David Dornsife Chair in Neuroscience and Professor of Psychology, Philosophy, and Neurology, and Director of the Brain and Creativity Institute at USC*

Based on a half century of research, Damasio’s simple statement has profound implications. That is, if we act on it. Since the Industrial Revolution, western societies have relied primarily on thinking, the rational, resulting in tremendous technological advances and comforts previously unimaginable. Can you imagine what life was like before electricity? But now the bill is due. Using thinking as the prime generator of our behaviors is causing existential problems. Those holding the reigns of these powerful technologies aren’t showing the commensurate wisdom to be trusted. This

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year sixty percent of teenage girls report that they are “serially miserable” according to the NYTimes. And half of them have thought of suicide. And just before the pandemic, 68% of high school juniors described school as first and foremost as boring (NYTimes, March 30, 2019).

We believe the roots stem from relying so heavily relying on thinking and placing feelings a distant second. Often, our society mocks those who feel “too much” unless their performing or competing.

We’ve learned that when a brain injury causes the loss of our emotions, a strange thing happens. The remaining rational part of the brain doesn’t care whether its offered ice cream or a streaming movie. It has no preference. Without emotions and feelings our logical capabilities become just a calculator.

These are but a few examples from the science of learning to operate our human equipment most effectively.

Applying these learnings skillfully is our mission.
“Teachers need this material.” — Dr. Thomas Armstrong, author of 20

books including Neurodiversity

This method has worked with over 2,500 mostly at-risk students. Learning through curiosity, games and the freedom to choose exercised responsibly is a powerful learning paradigm. The disengaged and disenfranchised respond with joy and enthusiasm.

This newsletter will offer tips that make for more focused, enthusiastic, and inquisitive students. It’s primarily geared for teens but how humans learn often transcends one age grouping.

Some of the science seems obvious. For instance, neuroscience data has validated that learning is greatly increased when students feel safe physically, emotionally, and mentally. When you’re in fear of your classmates, the teacher, the administration, or your parents, it’s nearly impossible to focus on learning.

How does a teacher or parent establish that kind of environment where trust and respect live?

The science of learning can surprise as well. Did you know the most effective ways to place things in long-term memory, where they’re never forgotten, are not only through repetition but emotion? Yes, emotion? For instance, can you remember your first crush?

My teacher mind shouts out: Emotions? Feelings? Aargh, just what I don’t need in the classroom!

We choose the emotions of joy, surprise, and curiosity while offering respect for all and, in return, require it be reciprocated. Kuriosity Lab holds space, two million square feet of woods, fields and hills with views of the Colombia River and the surrounding mountains in the Great Northwest for students to choose what to learn and to appreciate the natural environment during summers.

Imagine attending class becoming a refuge, not a sentence. Where negative thought cycles are broken. Minds and bodies work together. The rational no longer dominates feelings—they become partners. It’s a prescription for engagement and growth. And a path towards discovering and developing one’s true talents.

Different Ways to Learn

Kuriosity LabTraditional Education
Figuring Things OutMemorizing the Answer
Inside Out LearningOutside In Learning
Democratic ProcessesAuthoritarian Processes
Curiosity BasedRote Based
TrustFear
Individual NeedsStandardized
Results Are ObviousVerification Required (Lots of Testing)
MeaningfulOften Irrelevant
Process OrientedGoal Oriented
PlayfulDutiful
InexpensiveExpensive
Active (Including Shop Classes)Passive
Happens AnywhereHappens in Boxes
Senses HonedSenses Dulled
InterconnectedSeparated
Best Practices of the PastFaddish
ChallengingBoring
Everyone Can SucceedSuccess for Small Percentage
Self DisciplineDiscipline Imposed
Evening of Playing FieldUneven Playing Field
Based on Science of LearningTeaching to a Test
Interest Based LearningEconomically Motivated Learning
All Give and Get Respect and Treated Fairly (Not the Same, But Fairly)Some Are More Important than Others
Social and Knowing Thyself Skills Are as Important as AcademicsAcademic Skills Centric

Please share this with anyone knowing a youth stuck in a negative thought pattern. Thank you!

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