Daydreamers used to get in trouble. They were the underachievers. They were the kids who ended up hanging out under the bleachers and smoking stuff that smelled funny. Right?
New research co-authored by USC assistant professor Mary Helen Immordino-Yang suggests that daydreamers ...
... are the smart ones.
A USC paper titled "Rest Is Not Idleness," published in the journal Perspectives on Psychological Science, argues that mental wandering is crucial to healthy brain development.
In fact, disciplining daydreamers in classrooms could be a bad thing. USC:
... Diminishing opportunities for young people to look inward and reflect could have negative effects on their well-being, morality and academic success.
Immordino-Yang says that a young brain at rest is also a mind preparing for, in the words of USC, "attention-demanding tasks afterward."
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We focus on the outside world in education and don't look much at inwardly focused reflective skills and attentions, but inward focus impacts the way we build memories, make meaning and transfer that learning into new contexts. What are we doing in schools to support kids turning inward?
Of course, if that daydreamer is just stoned, that's a different issue.