About the Session

Emily Failes, FCPS teacher specialist for LLS & Reading Interventions.

Get a brief overview of adult learning theory and learn 10 brain-friendly strategies leaders can apply immediately to motivate and increase the understanding of adult learners. Strategies are based on the book "Sit & Get" Won't Grow Dendrites by Marcia L. Tate.


While researching this topic, I came across some conflicting information about an adults ability to actually grow dendrites. I e-mailed Gloria A. Neubert, Ph.D., professor of secondary education at Towson University, who has been researching this subject. She sent me "Six Ways to Help a Brain Heal" by Daniel T. Moore, Ph.D., copyrighted 2000. Included here is part of the third paragraph with emphasis (boldfaced type) added by me.

Current scientific knowledge reports that when a nerve cell dies, it does not grow back. However, existing nerve cells can grow branches or arms called dendrites that can connect to living nerve cells. When your brain cells are reconnected, you obtain your previous level of functioning and that part of your brain is healed. Growing dendrites is a normal healing process of the brain. It is also part of the normal learning process. When you learn a new complex behavior, the brain actually grows dendrites to make nerve connections more elaborate. A piano player or a skater actually grows additional dendrites to connect nerve cells with other nerve cells as they learn more complex music or maneuvers. As the nerve cells become more connected, the pianist's or skater's abilities improve.