Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Brain Rule Number 2

I have just finished reading about the second of John Medina's Brain Rules.  These points, from the Brain Rules website, sum up the key points of the chapter.  Points 3 and 4 are of particular relevance to teachers and learners.  These two points are about relationships; how it is important to understand others to get the best out of them.

Rule #2: The human brain evolved, too.
  1. The brain is a survival organ. It is designed to solve problems related to surviving in an unstable outdoor environment and to do so in nearly constant motion (to keep you alive long enough to pass your genes on). We were not the strongest on the planet but we developed the strongest brains, the key to our survival.
  2. The strongest brains survive, not the strongest bodies. Our ability to solve problems, learn from mistakes, and create alliances with other people helps us survive. We took over the world by learning to cooperate and forming teams with our neighbors.
  3. Our ability to understand each other is our chief survival tool. Relationships helped us survive in the jungle and are critical to surviving at work and school today.
  4. If someone does not feel safe with a teacher or boss, he or she may not perform as well. If a student feels misunderstood because the teacher cannot connect with the way the student learns, the student may become isolated.
  5. There is no greater anti-brain environment than the classroom and cubicle.
John Medina highlights an example in his book in which the reaction that a flight instructor has to a mistake made by a top student has a very negative impact their relationship.  Had the instructor had a better understanding of the student, his reaction would have been a lot different.  Whilst still providing corrective feedback to the student's error, it would have been done in such a way that the student would have learned from the mistake, as opposed to taking offense from the instructors 'dressing down'.

Brain Rule 2 is about how we have survived as humans due to our ability to understand and get along with each other.  These are certainly skills that are very applicable in any relationship between teachers and students.

Click here for an overview on the survival chapter from the Brain Rules website.

No comments:

Post a Comment