Friday, November 11, 2011

Home Schooling - Part 4 of a 12 Part Book Review - Brain Rules - Rule 4

Song:  Arise

Group:  E.S. Posthumus


ATTENTION:  We don't pay attention to boring things.

The chapter goes into some self evident descriptions of 
Memory, Interest, and Awareness.

It starts to get interesting afterwards...
as it has four very salient points in the teaching
of your children.

1)  Emotions get our attention - whether it is the great anomaly or shock that sticks 
out in our minds...or the great positive emotion that does...
it forces the mind to focus with rapt attention.

It also gives a deeper imprint in the memory.
If combined with other involves more of the brain...
and so, not only is it more easily remembered...
it is more easily recalled by stimulation of a similar sense.

To have a teacher who speaks in monotone, no movement...
no emotion...especially the teacher who merely reads verbatim
from the same text...or even worse...merely writes the same text on the board
and considers that to be in the presence of an intellectual zombie
(and yes...from one begets other zombies).

2)  Meaning before details - Yes...Yes...Yes... ad infinitum :)

You simply must go from large picture to the small...
from the root to the branches to the twigs to the leaves...
CONCEPTUAL understanding FIRST...then on to the details.

The author explains that memory is enhanced by creating associations
between concepts.  Researches had done hundreds of experiments...
all leading to the same conclusion (what common sense dictates)...
words that are presented in a logically organized, hierarchical structure
are much better remembered than words placed 40%.

He states that to get the particulars not start with the details.
Start with the key ideas...and in a hierarchical fashion...form the details around
those larger notions.

3)  The Brain cannot multi-task - not with quality.

It is half doing... twice as many... twice as long.

Enough said.

4)  The brain needs a break - A person learning a new task
needs time to link into larger categorize.

One concept at a time...reinforce over a period of 10 minute multiple sessions.

Now...this does not mean a break every 10 minutes...
merely a break from the same info.

Good speakers break up monotony through humor... emotional hook (relative to the concept)...
perhaps going over the rewards of the, to be, actualized results.

Chapter Summary

1)  The brain's attentional "spotlight" can focus on only one thing
at a time.  No multi-tasking.

2)  We are better at seeing patterns and abstracting the meaning of an event
than we are at recording detail.

3)  Emotional Arousal helps the brain learn.

4)  Audiences tend to check out every 10 or so minutes...
you can re-grab their attention through the use of related 
emotionally charged narratives or events.

Emotional Arousal...

We use positive re-inforcement with Alex.

He gets excited every time he does well on an assignment...
because we always praise him when he does well.  He looks forward to 
working hard to achieve his praise.  It is a basic motivator that helps drive him forward.

It is the expectation of a pleasant experience that
gives him the prime emotional arousal...
true pride.

Meaning before detail...

Conceptual understanding...of course.

I have written many articles using concepts from which to understand
the subject and from where the logical progression of thought naturally leads
(for those of whom are new to this blog...please go to the archives for the concepts 
of various topics).

It is true understanding vs. mere regurgitation.

The brain cannot multi-task...

We have the house perfectly quiet when Alex studies.

Our lives revolve around Alex?

We are parents...his needs come before anything else.

He has no distractions...not even hunger.

His mother has set times for his nutritious snacks and meals.

Should we wish to listen to music...we use headphones.

TV?  In another room...never on loud enough where Alex can hear it.

Loud arguments between husband and wife?

Well...ok....we are working on that one  :)

The brain needs breaks...

He takes short breaks between his subject study lessons.

The above article demonstrates this principle.

I had Alex practice 5 times a day for just 3 - 5 minutes each session.

He went from barely holding a note to a whole song with some flourishes
in 3 months on 20 minutes a day.

When learning...
it is best to break it up into micro sessions so as to be fresh of 
mind and spirit.

The mantra...
many times a day...
every day.

A habit is formed...
A passion is inflamed...
A way of life is born and nurtured.


  1. Nice tips for public speakers and teachers.

    My son's swim instructor has talked about how he likes to tutor kids by alternating academic learning with physical activities... it ties with the thought of giving breaks to keep the mind fresh.

  2. refreshes the body and mind. It works especially well with high energy kids as it calms them works with lethargic kids as it energizes them. It is simply a good way to teach.


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