Educational Internship Program Book Study
By: Emma Erdman
This book has something to offer for anyone who picks it up. Brain Rules, by John Medina, is an instruction manual of sorts, offering advice on how to use your brain to it's fullest potential. Medina dissects the origins of the most important functions of the brain, and how it applies to the reader both as a scholar and human being. The book is divided into 12 topics, each containing an in depth explanation of the anatomic working of the topic, as well the psychological and behavioral effects produced by it. Medina’s book is a dynamic mixture of biology textbook information and psychological discussion. This book may seem like an easy read, but its ideas circle around your head in contemplation for hours afterwards. Each Brain Rule has a life lesson that will benefit you in school or the work place. In essence, it shows that the traditional school and work environments we have now work directly against our biological predispositions for learning and creating. Medina’s writing is logical and passionate, and will make you look at every situation, whether it’s in a classroom or out on the street, in a different way.
How This Applies To Me As a Learner
Many of the Brain Rules reference methods to enhance your learning. Exercise is essential for the brain to function well, which Medina explains dates back to humans living on the Serengeti. We are genetically programmed to keep moving, because back in prehistoric times, those who rested didn’t live very long. The same goes for creativity. In order to survive, humans were constantly forced to problem solve in life threatening situations. Now, students learn through rote-memorization. Our brains are built to learn through creation and hands on activity, not memorizing random facts and figures. In Brain Rule number 4, “Attention”, Medina explains that the brain remembers information better in a summarized form, or as he calls it, “gist”. If a student first knows the big ideas of a lesson, they will remember and comprehend the coming information better. The brain sorts things into categories, and the big ideas act as buckets for the smaller details to fall in to. The brain can’t remember information it doesn’t find meaning in, which he further details in Brain Rule 5, “Short Term Memory”. Rote memorization of information will never be translated into long-term memory unless the brain comprehends what it is trying to say. Also, in “Short Term Memory”, Medina analyses how the environment you learn the information in connects to your ability to retain it. It appears the two tie together, so much so that the being in a similar environment can trigger the recollection of the information. All of these tips help me recognize what I am doing wrong as a student, and how I can fix it.
How I Can Use This As a Teacher
Questions I Had While Reading
Medina, John. Brain Rules: 12 Principles for Surviving and Thriving at Work, Home, and School. Seattle, WA: Pear, 2008. Print.
McKay, Sarah. "Brain Rules- Walking Book Club." Everyday Neuroscience for Brain Health & Wellness. N.p., n.d. Web. 17 Dec. 2015