Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Brain Rules by John Medina (Rules 5-8)

Here are the next four rules - with lots of classroom instructional implications.

5.      Short-term memory
a.      Lengthen short-term memory by repeating information at timed intervals.  “Spaced learning is greatly superior to massed learning.” (76)
b.      “Content is stored separately from its context/container.” (80)
c.      The way you code information as it enters the brain has a great deal to do with how you remember it later.
d.      Memory works best if the environmental conditions at retrieval are the same as they were at encoding.
e.      To improve learning – “liberal use of relevant real-world examples embedded in the information, constantly peppering main learning points with meaningful experiences.” (87)
6.      Long-term memory
a.      Working memory includes
                                                    i.     Auditory – linguistic, phonological
                                                   ii.     Visual – images, spatial input
                                                 iii.     Executive – keeps track of activities
b.      We have different types of retrieval systems and we what we use depends on the type of information and how long ago we learned it.
c.      Elaborative rehearsal (repetition) creates robust retrieval.  Thinking and processing immediately after learning occurs enhances memory.
d.      Deliberately re-expose yourself to information in fixed, spaced intervals if you want the best retrieval. (99)
7.      Sleep
a.      Larks (morning people) and owls (night people) – everyone varies in how much sleep he needs.
b.      If you get more sleep, you learn better, particularly procedural learning. (119)
c.      One night’s loss of sleep can result in 30% loss in overall cognitive skill.
d.      Even when you sleep, your brain is still processing.  So loss of sleep hurts focus and brain function.
8.      Stress
a.      Stress affects our immune response.
b.      Stress harms declarative memory (things you can declare) and executive function (the type of thinking that involves problem-solving). (131)
c.      “Stressed brains don’t learn the same way as non-stressed brains.” (136)
d.      Conflict impacts performance.  So, if students are in a stressful, conflict-filled home, they are unable to concentrate in school. (136)

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