Dr. John Medina, a developmental molecular biologist, has put together 12 facts (which he calls rules) about how the brain works. Most of the rules are not new: exercise makes your brain work better; a stressed brain doesn’t work well; we don’t pay attention to boring things. These are things we figured out in high school, when we had to sit in classrooms listening to teachers who couldn’t interest us with their lessons. Moreover, Dr. Medina has done the research that shows that listening to music while studying actually helps us remember things!
The website http://www.brainrules.net/ is one big advertisement for Dr. Medina’s books. It is chockfull of videos, many featuring Dr. Medina, who loves his work and waxes enthusiastic about his discoveries.
It is worth going through the 12 rules and thinking, “I knew that!” or “Hmm, that could work.” Applying his brain rules to the classroom would not be too difficult. Getting the students up and moving around, working together, and learning in ways that interest them are all part of best teaching practices. If we get to know our students and involve them in the development of the lesson plans, the light bulbs in our heads will glow brighter, and we’ll all be happy!