Brain Rules Book Study

Gabrielle Smith

Principles That Affect Me As A Student

Throughout the book, Brain Rules, I discovered some basic principals that I believe will not only benefit teachers, but me as well. John Medina hit learning on the head with his 12 rules: exercise boosts brain power, brain evolution, brain wiring, attention span, repeating to remember, remembering to repeat, sleeping, lowering stress, stimulating senses, vision being the best sense, males/females learn differently, and brains are powerful explorers. When I learned that exercising improved test scores, it completely changed my view points on exercising. I started walking around my neighborhood, and my assignments and test scores improved. Knowing how the brain evolved really affected the way I viewed the brain. Learning basic information when you are younger really affects the way you will learn in the future. In elementary school, if you are really far behind and do not learn on-level material, there is a chance your brain might not even evolve the correct way. When you are younger it is critical that you are caught up in school. Another thing that impacted me as a learner is that brains are wired differently by the environment you are placed in, and obviously your genes. Our neurons fire into the synapse, and this is how we retain our knowledge. Different things fire our neurons, and as a student I know that neurons fire better when I am learning audibly and visually. Also, everyone has the same attention span. People don’t like listening to boring things! This would include lectures at school. That is why it is important to give students brain breaks because they will learn better. Sometimes I don’t pay any attention in College World Literature because the teacher talks the whole class period, and none of what she is saying is stimulating my brain. The reason their is no stimulation is it is boring, and it's a bunch of random information. I need brain breaks! One other thing that was very interesting to me is that humans cannot multi-task. Multi-tasking is all about how fast you can go back and forth between each task. Teachers need to keep mind that it is hard to write, listen, and remember the information they are giving. That is why they need to take their time, and not speed through their lesson. Short-term and long-term memory play a lot into how we learn in school. It is all about constantly repeating to remember, and remembering to repeat. In high school students base all of their learning on memory. I learned that not repeating something in 30 seconds, you will forget immediately after. Now when I do my studies I make sure that I repeat information in 30 seconds. Also, if you reproduce the environment you are in where you learned something new, you will remember it better. Obviously, we have made napping a fun thing in this generation, but this is not good for your body/brain. Naps should only lasts about 10 minutes because it can mess up your sleep cycle. I usually take 4 hour naps, so now I definitely don’t do that anymore. Sleeping is a very important thing for your brain because without it you cannot learn. Now I sleep at the appropriate times, and for the correct amount of times as much as possible. Something else that is important that your brain must not have is stress. Stress puts a very big roadblock to learning. Students need to relax about grades, freaking about a test can actually make you do worse. Students should instead focus on increasing their senses. Vision is the most important sense of them all. We learn by observing, and using our other senses as well. Students can learn way more about things by simply observing what is around them. Another thing that impacts me as a learner is my brain is genetically very distinctive from males. We learn differently, and we are both better at certain things. This helped me understand more about myself as a learner. Lastly, students must know that our brains are natural explorers. We must explore in order to learn new things.

Amazon Review

If you haven’t read Brain Rules by John Medina, you must! This book includes many references to psychology, but it is perfect for the everyday teacher. This book is all about the rules of the brain. How can you learn about your students, if you don’t understand the way they think? How will you know what teaching style will benefit their brains the best? All these questions are shortly answered and divided into 12 simple rules! The first rule is all about exercise! Exercise? Yeah, I know it doesn’t seem like an important thing for teachers to include in their classrooms. But it is in fact! Exercising stimulates the brain in a mighty way. Simply allowing students to listen to a lesson as they walk on a treadmill will impact their brains stimulation tremendously. I know for a fact that brain stimulation is key for me when I am learning. If I am not simply moving my leg, I cannot pay attention in class. Studies have even proven that adding in exercise in the smallest ways will make you smarter. Exercise has proven to influence memory as well. In any grade level having a good memory is crucial. Adding a simple daily routine of exercise in your class will help kids reach the next level of their potential. Another rule that teachers will learn about in this book is male and female brains are different. Teachers, if you are going to retain any of this information from this book it should be that male and female brains are very different. Males are better at math/science and girls are better at communication arts/social studies. This tells you exactly how you can help students thrive in school. This could affect the way you group certain people from here on out. It is important that students learn in the best environment for them. One major rule that stood out to me is attention. Teaching is all about grabbing students attention for as long as you can have it. Or is it? Studies have shown that taking brain breaks helps the brain. As for the other rules that are in this book, you will have to read them for yourself. I genuinely believe that this will improve the infrastructures of every classroom for whomever decides to give this book a chance. This book’s main lesson is to make teachers, students, and adults with other jobs to thrive in the setting they are in. You cannot thrive without knowing anything about the brain! Therefore, I challenge you to read this book, and let it change your perspective on teaching.

Principals Used In Future/Current Classroom

The pedagogy in, Brain Rules has made me decide to incorporate these many rules in my classroom. This book absolutely blew my mind! It completely changed my mind on how teaching should be done. First of all, I would try to make an easy exercise for the kids to get their brains stimulated. I would include as much moving around as possible actually. I would make sure the class was going at a good pace, so the kids would not get bored, and I would keep their attention. Another thing I would do to keep their attention is provide brain breaks. Whether it be them chatting with their friends, or sitting quietly, or letting them play a game. I know from being an EIP student it is very hard to keep 4th graders attention. It is also very hard for them to remember what you said 5 minutes ago. Another thing I would do is make sure that I was sleeping at the appropriate times and for the correct amount of time. I would not only want the kids to be alert, but myself included, so I can teach to the best of my ability. I would also focus on repetition to make sure the kids are actually retaining the information. That would be for the auditory learners especially! For the visual learners, I would make sure I am doing a graphic organizer or some kind of diagram. I want to ensure that all kids are learning in the best way possible for them. The pedagogy of this book has definitely reflected in Mr. Williamson’s class. He is always on the move, and so are the kids. He keeps the class going at a specific pace to ensure kids are not getting bored, and to make sure they are keeping their brains stimulated. Not only does he keep them moving in, but he actually has a time where the kids exercise. He uses a website called gonoodle.com. This website contains dancing instructional videos, yoga, and all sorts of other things. Not only does this serve as a brain break for the kids, but it gets them to exercise, and it is rather fun. Also, he is constantly repeating himself, and that is before the kids ask him a million questions. Another thing he does is he creates a relaxing atmosphere with the dimmed lights. The kids have a variety of chairs that are for their own comfort, and they don’t even have a seating arrangement! This allows the kids to be in a stress free environment. Something else that is similar to this book is he really focuses on how he makes groups. I really admire this about his teaching technique because he conforms to the teaching technique that every kid needs. He sets them up into 4 individual groups: tactile learners, debaters, auditory, and visual. He doesn’t put all below level kids together either. He usually puts kids that understand the material to help the below level kids understand. This shows that he notices that each kid's brain is genetically different and wired differently. He really acknowledges the students learning needs, so he can help the kids understand the material.

Brain Rules By: John Medina

Read this book!

Questions

  1. I wonder what rule John Medina thinks is the most important out of his 12 rules?

  2. I wonder how many teachers have read this book, and how it has impacted their teaching technique?

  3. I wonder how many teachers have unconsciously followed John Medina’s brain rules?

  4. I wonder what rule teachers, students, and others think is the most important of this book?

  5. I wonder what kinds of activities/brain breaks could not only give students a break, but help them learn something new? Or help them learn better afterwards?

  6. I wonder what kind of memory teachers try to influence the most (short-term or long-term)?

  7. Should every teacher read this book? Not only to themselves, but to their students?

  8. I wonder why John Medina decided to write a book about these specific rules?

  9. I wonder how often it is that students brains are stimulated?

  10. I wonder what people thought was the most interesting rule out of this book?

  11. If they haven’t yet, why has no one ever done a study on the difference between teachers classrooms without reading the book as to teachers that did read the book?

  12. I wonder what other rules John Medina think should be applied to classrooms that he did not mention in the book?