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THOMPSON: Human Nature

Brandy%20standing%201[1] Dan Willingham offers cognitive research to undergird the concept of "No Child Left Inside." "Urban environments," writes Willingham, "provide too many stimuli," but "nature is restorative because it provides a rest for the directive attention system." That may be why the late, lamented institution of recess "does provide a cognitive boost for students." Even watching pictures of nature has benefits.

When I changed from an over-educated hiking counselor, and legislative lobbyist, to an urban teacher, I did not realize that I was looking for a daughter from generational poverty. Now, my former student and I see ourselves as father and daughter. The encouragement Brandy received while hiking out of the Grand Canyon was something she had never before experienced. It was as restorative as nature’s grandeur. Now, Brandy teaches in a high-poverty elementary school. I honestly believe that Brandy Clark is the best teacher who I've known.- John Thompson


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