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16. “Aha moments” enhance neural networks.

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16. “Aha moments” enhance neural networks.

What is an “aha moment”? It is the pleasurable moment when a mystery is solved and/or a prediction-outcome dichotomy is resolved. It is highly pleasurable and therefore motivational. It is an emotional experience and as the first maxim states, emotion drives learning. Neural networks are nurtured and sustained by these aha moments, therefore, teaching should be a festival of aha moments. For example, instead of “telling” an answer to a learner, the teacher should allow the learner to solve the mystery on his/her own, albeit with high support. If the ultimate answer is too complex, the teacher should break it down into simpler steps and allow the learner to arrive at each answer on his/her own, with the motivation to go on fueled by the aha moments. Here in Japan, most public school teaching is based solely on rote memorization with minimal aha moments. Language learning in Japanese public schools is akin to memorizing a technical manual. It is therefore boring, unmotivational, and very difficult to achieve high proficiency. On the other hand, if students were allowed to make predictions and create and solve linguistic mysteries on their own (such as through even simple, but real interaction in English), the language learning will be laden with aha moments that create and fortify neuro-networks in the brain efficiently.

Q. When was your last aha moment? Think about it for a moment. Can you piece together certain details it? Why are you able to do that?

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