A speaker at a professional development event at my college recommended the book Brain Rules by John Medina. I’ve been reading it over the past week. Medina makes suggestions on how to restructure the business and educational world based on research about how the brain learns. I’ve read about half the book so far and it have some ideas on how I could implement his suggestions. Other suggestions seem out of my control, or very hard to implement in an algebra class.
In the Attention chapter Medina recommends recapturing students attention every 10 minutes. He uses emotional charged anecdotes to refocus his class. In a math class I could certainly limit lectures to 10 minutes and alternate with other activities. I would have to be careful not to make the lesson seem disjointed by making these changes every 10 minutes. The lesson still needs a central core.
Medina also recommends more repetition. The brain needs to forget a lot so that it can remember important things. The brain is more likely to remember repeated information. (There is more detail than this in the book.) He recommends block scheduling, review within classes and review within weeks. I will have to use review at the end of class and carefully structured assignments that make students review fairly often.
Medina also recommends that students sleep enough and exercise enough- he even says we should consider slow-moving treadmills in classrooms. These are obviously outside my control and so I’ll focus elsewhere!
It has not escaped me that the nature of this blog- public, but not advertised- makes it a way for me to review my learning. Hopefully this motivates me to continue to write about my learning.