The Think Tank Tower Tour: Nicky

The Think Tank Tower Tour: Nicky

By: Think Tank Team

Editors’ note: We thought this would be a good time to tell you who we are. Not counting our inner stable contributors, this magazine has a staff of seven, living all over the world, who gather at Think Tank Towers in Waikiki every month to produce this magazine. The MindBrainEd Think Tanks are not funded, nor are the contributors or editors paid, so they produce this magazine out of love for language teachers and students. 

Why? The reason lies in our training as teachers. Until the eighties, language teacher training, in college, at conferences, and in the literature, was focused on the language, in other words, linguistics. Before acronyms like TESL or EAL eventually came out, language teaching was actually known as “Applied Linguistics.” 

However, language teachers everywhere realized that their training in syntax parsing and case grammars was of little benefit in their classrooms and demanded more information about learning in general. The spotlight then shifted from language to learners, especially in terms of motivation, communicative approaches, language functions and notions, and so on. And this helped.

Nonetheless, there were two areas of language learning that still remained in the dark: how the brain actually does language and how it does learning. This was not known in neuroscience either. But at the turn of the century, some of us noticed that neuroscience was starting to figure that out, as well as unravel attention, disabilities, emotion, and so much more. Unfortunately, these discoveries were not being taught to us. Because it is so new, and because neuroscience is so hard to understand, most teacher training programs still lag in teaching these things. The price we pay for this deficit, however, is the well-being of our learners.

Now, however, scattered all over the world, there are a few teachers who are trying to change this; teachers who study neuroscience and psychology and try to pass it on to their peers in an understandable way. They speak at conferences (if they can get accepted), they include brain studies in their research, and they write articles. For teachers like that in language teaching, we, The MindBrainEd Think Tanks, are their home base and launch pad.

This month, meet our newest member: Nicky!

New Blood: Nicky

When I asked my friends to describe me in a few words, I thought they would take at least a well-mannered few minutes to come up with something suitably scathing. However, I received the answer insultingly quickly. In their humble opinion, I am a human-shaped bat–though they would also allow for a crow, or a raccoon.

They are not wrong. If it were up to me, I’d stay inside my house with the curtains drawn, playing video games in the dark. At parties, you’ll most likely find me in a corner ignoring people and clearing empty glasses. Not entirely by choice, I have a strange obsession with cleaning things up. Yes, you may envision a little trash panda with an ingrained instinct to rinse candy floss in a running stream.

Helping out the MindBrainEd Think Tank helps me channel this obsession in a healthy way. I take an almost clinical joy in fixing the layout of the articles, and producing illustrations that suit the topic. Adding a bit of sparkle to the magazine scratches a corvid itch.

The rest of my origin story must remain shrouded in mystery. We mustn’t give everything away in the first issue, after all! However, lovely readers, you may rest assured the Think Tank has caught me in a very humane trap and I am quite happy to help out with their design needs for the foreseeable future.

Hobbies: Nicky is a Dungeon Master with a love for all things dark and D&D. When not delving into the depths of tabletop realms, she’s immersed in story-rich video games and RPGs, or escaping into the fantastical worlds of Terry Pratchett and J.R.R. Tolkien’s high fantasy.

Office: [Dark Gothic] Trying to find my office? Look for the room with the least amount of sunlight, and the highest likelihood of having a raven perched above the chamber door!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *