Navigating Neural Networks 

Black and white brain with outlines of networks crossing through it

Have you ever considered the similarities between airlines and our brains? This concept, based on the work of Dr. Lynn Meltzer, was recently explored in a post from Sound Academic Coaching, a group that teaches students how to plan, organize, and prioritize to achieve school success​​.

Airline and Brain Networks

“With airlines, there are clearly defined and often used flight paths…[and] there are also infrequent and layover ridden flight paths…Our brains are the same.”

Sound Academic Coaching describes that familiar actions, such as speaking one’s first language, leverage the power of already-established and strengthened pathways. On the other hand, when we learn something new, less-established pathways are forged and begin to strengthen over time with repeated practice.

“…In our brains, seemingly unrelated external tasks can affect each other because of connecting networks.”

Just as a snowstorm in Chicago can delay flights in Miami, an issue in one area of the brain can affect another seemingly unrelated area. This might look like a processing or comprehension issue being mistaken for an attention issue. In this case, as Sound Academic Coaching explains, exploring solutions for inattention wouldn’t get to the root of the processing or comprehension issue.

Coaching for Success

“There are no easy fixes for learning struggles. Working with students to improve their executive function is a nuanced process.”

It is important to work closely with students to understand the nuances of their particular case and the strategies that will support them most. Coaching can help students get to the root cause of their challenges while working with a supportive collaborator to achieve academic success.

For more information, check out the full post ↗(link opens in new tab/window)and learn more about Sound Academic Coaching and the services they offer ↗(link opens in new tab/window).

  • Caitlin Vanderberg, M.Ed., SMARTS Associate

SMARTS Executive Function Curriculum:

Research Institute for Learning and Development:

The Institute for Learning and Development: