Applying neuroplasticity to educating agile-thinking managers
Findings in neuroplasticity confirm that the brain continues to change over time, and that different types of experience result in different types of change (plasticity). Further, the type of plasticity change enables (or disables) or favors (or discourages) different thinking capabilities. Applying these findings, the authors offer an argument that the type of change enabled by teaching-to-repeat (T2R), a passive learning approach prevalent in business education, prepares students' brains to perform in a manner quite different from that valued by business practitioners. Of perhaps greater importance, educational methods of this sort actively discourage the type of brain development consistent with desired capabilities. The authors propose pedagogy - teaching-to-vary (T2V), consistent with development of a different type of plasticity. They argue that by implementing techniques designed to foster variation, working against the brain's tendency toward a preference for the familiar, business educators can both mitigate T2R effects, and better prepare students' brains to manage in uncertain, often turbulent environments. Caveats and suggestions for future research are offered in closing.