Brain Rules is a book that I just finished reading. The author is John Medina, a molecular biologist. Don’t let that scare you, though – the book is really very readable, and funny. I’m a member of a committee at work that is using this as sort of a “book club” book for discussion; our first meeting is tomorrow.
The book is divided into 12 chapters, one for each brain rule. The chapter titles are Exercise, Survival, Wiring, Attention, Short-term Memory, Long-term Memory, Sleep, Stress, Sensory Integration, Vision, Gender, and Exploration. The basic premise is: based on what we know now about brain biology and human development, we really should consider throwing out the conventional wisdom of the classrooms and workplaces of America. For instance, the Exercise chapter states that exercise improves our cognitive ability. Yet, to improve scores on standardized tests, we cut recess out of the daily schedule of kids in school. If we really want their test scores to improve, we’d add another session of recess – at least two recesses a day.
It’s really interesting stuff. I’d like to figure out a way I could incorporate some of it into the research instruction I do. Maybe I can get some help with that from the other members of my committee.