If you wanted to create an education environment that was directly opposed to what the brain was good at doing, you probably would design something like a classroom.

So says John Medina.book_brain_rules.jpg

Medina is the author of the new book, Brain Rules: 12 Principles for Surviving and Thriving at Work, Home, and School. He uses some nice research and examples to explain how we interact with our environment and each other, esepcially how we as teachers can impact student learning.

What’s a Brain Rule?

It’s one thing scientists know for sure about how our brains work.

The 12 Rules?

Exercise EXERCISE | Rule #1: Exercise boosts brain power.
Evolution SURVIVAL | Rule #2: The human brain evolved, too.
wiring WIRING | Rule #3: Every brain is wired differently.
attention ATTENTION | Rule #4: We don’t pay attention to boring things.
shortterm SHORT-TERM MEMORY | Rule #5: Repeat to remember.
longterm LONG-TERM MEMORY | Rule #6: Remember to repeat.
sleep SLEEP | Rule #7: Sleep well, think well.
stress STRESS | Rule #8: Stressed brains don’t learn the same way.
multisensory SENSORY INTEGRATION | Rule #9: Stimulate more of the senses.
vision VISION | Rule #10: Vision trumps all other senses.
gender GENDER | Rule #11: Male and female brains are different.
exploration EXPLORATION | Rule #12: We are powerful and natural explorers.

After each of the rules, Medina offers practical, transformative ideas about how to actually use the rule in what we do.

For example, Medina claims that you’ve got only seconds to grab someone’s attention, and just 10 minutes to keep it. At 9 minutes and 59 seconds, something must be done quickly—something emotional and relevant.

So emotional stories can be a huge tool for us as teachers. History is often described as a story well told and Medina suggests that we need to do a much better job of telling stories.

(There’s some nice connections to the ideas in Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die. Because . . . well . . . it uses some of the same research.)

Brain research is just so cool! I get excited learning what it can teach us about how we can do our jobs better. Let me know what you think.