I have written about my 'dyslexic' students shutting down during class in my article: Unlearn dated Wednesday, February 17, 2010
I recommend you to read that article before continuing with this article. Do read the comments from one of my favourite readers.
Let us first think of the times when our minds shut down or switch off. I am sure most of you will agree with me that sometime in your life when you were angry, you would have said something that you wish you had not. If a friend were to recall such a moment after a few years you will not believe you were capable of having said what he says you had said. I don’t know the answer to why we sometimes say things that we later regret. Did our minds shut down? Did our common sense take leave?
Another good example is when someone tries to talk to you about a religion different from yours. I find that most people just switch off and though they are physically present their minds will be elsewhere. They would have hardly listened to anything said by that person. This is a good example of “people hear but do not listen”.
I guess the same thing happens when some people talk about politics and ask you to vote for a party that you are not in favour of. Your mind is already made up and nothing he says will change your mind. In fact, you hear but do not listen to what he is talking about.
Something similar happens to a child who has shut-down. Once he has learnt something and believes it to be true he cannot accept anything contrary to what he has learnt. His mind shuts down and though he may be physically present his mind is “absent”. He may hear but is not listening to you. I know this to be a fact as again and again, I have seen my students shut down right in front of my eyes. However, unlike people to whom you talk about religion or politics, a child who has shut down will listen and accept what you have to say if you clearly explain to him that what you say is also correct despite being contrary to what he already knows.
I have written about minds shutting down but want to explore further in the next few months. Anyone with experience on their children’s mind shutting down or has read anything on mind shutting down is welcome to write to me at: email@example.com. Readers in Malaysia may telephone me on 019-8500258
I wrote to a dear friend of mine and asked him if he ever shuts down and his answer is attached.
I am now using Drop Box to attach my documents. To see my friend's response click here.