Did you know there is a difference between the mind and the brain? In an effort to overcome learning challenges, it is important to discuss the difference between the brain and the mind. The brain is the hardware that is made up of neurons. The mind is made up of thoughts, attitudes, beliefs, and free will. Establishing this distinction helps build awareness on what is the brain and what is the mind and the relationship between the two as they relate to learning, motivation, and effective effort. It also helps to focus the client's attention to their learning challenge and the neurological and cognitive factors associated with the brain and just how separate the brain is from a person's true identity.
Once a clear separation is made between the mind and the brain then time and attention is placed on learning how to use the mind to overcome learning challenges, or a perceived brain-based disability. Jeff Schwartz, the author of The Mind and the Brain: Neuroplasticity and the Power of Mental Force and You Are Not Your Brain states “The mind is the software running on the brain's hardware” (Schwartz, 2002, p.25) and one's mental state can contribute even more powerfully to an outcome then the stimulus itself. What this means, from an academic coaching perspective, is that effective results are achieved when one's mind is in the right mental state. The student must perceive themselves capable of overcoming whatever challenge is in front of them, whether that challenge is reading, writing, planning, attention, organization, honor role. etc.