Brain Rules by John Medina

EIP Book Study by: Tiffany Collins

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Review of Brain Rules by John Medina

I chose to read "Brain Rules" by john Medina because when I looked through the list of books that Ms. Taylor reccommended, this one seemed like the most interesting to read. When I read the summary of this book, I knew it was the right one to to a book study over. I love learning about the brain and how it works because it describes what different people think and act. I've always wondered how kids in a classroom all think differently and how they all interpret things differently. How are teachers supposed to engage all students at once if some of them are not interested in the lecture or conversation? Do teachers need to change their teaching style just so the students will participate more in class? There are so many questions that I had before reading this book and now most of them are answered. In this book, John Medina explains the twelve principals for striving at home, school and work.

John Medina's book all around is about how the brain works and how people interpret all kinds of things. John is a molecular biologist and he thinks that the brain sciences that scientists have discovered influence the way we teach our kids and how we work. There are twelve chapters in the book and in each chapter, Medina describes a "brain rule". These twelve rules have been studied by scientists and they tell us how our brains work. I do believe that the way each individual has a different way of interpreting a situation and will react differently from any other person. Like parents, teachers have an important role for teaching their students important concepts and all teachers teach different. Even all parents parent different from one another and some ways are more sucessful than others. It all depends on the individual person.

The twelve brain rules are:

1. Survival: The human brain evolved, too.

2. Exercise: Exercise boosts brain power.

3. Sleep: Sleep well, think well.

4. Stress: Stressed brains don;t learn the same way.

5. Wiring: Every brain is wired differently.

6. Attention: We don't pay attention to boring things.

7. Memory: Repeat to remember.

8. Sensory Integration: Stimulate more of the sense.

9. Vision: Vision trumps all other senses.

10. Music: Study or listen to boost cognition.

11. Gender: Male and female brains are different.

12. Exploration: We are powerful and natural explorers.

This video is of John Medina talking about how the brain works.

How does the brain work?

How does Brain Rules impact me as a learner?

While reading this book, I noticed that all people can't interpret a subject the same. I knew that all people thought differently but I never really put it together that we are all at a different spot in our learning. As a learner, I've learned that having a visual in front of me really helps me understand the concept a lot better. I've had teachers who just stand up at the front of the class and talk to whole hour and honestly, I'm really only focused for about ten minutes and then after that, I'm not interested anymore. This relates back to the book because John Medina mentioned that after ten minutes of a speech or presentation, the audience loses interest. He said that you should change gears every ten minutes of the presentation either to tell a relevant story, show a relevant video or do a relevant activity. Some of my former teachers have had powerpoints that is all text and no pictures at all. For me, that doesn't intrigue my attention and it just looks so boring. Other teachers put pictures on the slides with some text to describe what's happening in the picture, which helps me understand a lot better. Just like Medina said with the twelve rules, vision and attention are part of the biggest things to look at. You have to make your presentaions more appealing and add pictures to not make it boring.

How will I apply Brain Rules to my classroom?

When I do officially become an elementary school teacher, I will be more aware of how I teach now that I have had more experience with this class and reading this book. Not only have I read this book, I have also read the book "Mindset" by Carol Dweck. In that book, Dweck talked about how there are two different mindsets; growth mindset and fixed mindset. Growth mindset is when people believe that their most basic ablilites can be developed through education and hard work. In a fixed mindset, they believe that their basic qualities are fixed and that talent creates success on it's own. They either believe that they are smart or dumb. This book was very interesting to read because it talked about many scenarios where there were two different mindsets going on. When I'm a teacher, I have to make sure I understand the individual students' mindsets and the way they learn because if I understand better, then I can help them more efficiently. I want my students to be impacted by me and how I teach them the skills that they need to be successful. I'm going to try to make learning fun for them because if I do that, they will be able to remember the subject better and it will help them understand.

Questions that keep running through my head...

1. Are most teachers aware of different styles of teaching? Are they willing to change the way they teach to see if it works better then their normal way?

2. Will changing the way teachers teach lessons make the students less interested or more interested? Some students might think the lessons are "too cool" for them if the teachers tries to engage in an activity.

3. Will there ever be this type of teaching in the future since the world is turning into technology? I feel like sometime in the future, we won't need teacher necessarily because it could all be possibly taught on the computer.