Living Brain Rules

     When we look at where the United States stands in terms of student performance, there is one aspect in particular which stands out for me.  We continue to ignore what science tells us about learning, neurology and brain development in favor of one sized fits all models and standardized testing.

     Watching the John Travolta film Phenomenon this past weekend I was struck by the truth of one scene in particular where he states to the neurologist "I think you've got this desperate grasp on technology and this grasp on science and you don't have a hand left to grasp what's important... what I'm talking about here is the human spirit.  That's the challenge, that's the spirit, that's the expedition.That scriptwriter gem is also not far off from the work by Sir Ken Robinson.

      Having previously read summaries, viewed PowerPoints and watched videos discussing Dr. John Medina's New York Times bestselling book Brain Rules, (Dr. Medina is nothing like the movie neurologist character above) I finally had the opportunity to purchase it for full absorption and was immediately struck by two early discussions directly quoted here:
  1. If you wanted to create an education environment that was directly opposed to what the brain was good at doing, you would probably design something like a classroom.
  2. If you wanted to create a business environment that was directly opposed to what the brain was good at doing, you probably would design something like a cubicle.
      This is why of course many forward thinking and innovative firms have moved towards a Design Thinking approach to both their facility and function development of their organizations. We of course don't have the funds to redesign outdated and often failing school physical structures.  We can however learn how teach and lead in ways that reach to the individual students. We must also devote time to understanding Dr. Medina's logical and common sense rules based on thousands of "peer reviewed scientifically replicated studies."

     First for our own self-development, and then for our understanding of how we can most effectively lead others whether teachers at any level or business leaders in for profit or non-profit organizations.  Creating a future that is more adaptable, sustainable and innovative than our current environment is crucial to the survival of the species.  All species.

     There are times when I deplore the why read when you can just watch the video and times when I understand in a world of information overload we want "just the facts, ma'am."   I encourage you to buy the book which I find to be highly accessible, understandable, and as I mentioned previously, common sense.  The concepts aren't recognized as common sense or we wouldn't be where we are currently. We'd have moved onto higher ground, stronger outcomes and a more humane and equitable world.
    Here's an introductory video from the Brain Rules website to get you started.  What you do with it after that depends on your wiring, vision and desire to grow.


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