The 10 Brain Rules Title Slide

The 10 Brain Rules

KellerRelationship-based Teaching, Understanding the Brain 1 Comment

10 Brain Rules that will change the way you teach

Teachers are under pressure to complete the syllabus as a result of the disruption caused by Covid.  Many worry that their students have not mastered key stages and may be adding unnecessary pressure.  Parents are certainly worried – as they compare school programmes, methods and the amount of time and input given. In the midst of all the fretting around curriculum mastery, the client, our students, must remain our focus.  One way to remain focused as teachers and parents is to remind ourselves about the 10 brain rules.

This month, our social media drive has directed readers to consider 10 rules about how the brain processes information.

1. This is a unique brain

This is a unique brain

Many genetic and environmental factor influence the uniqueness of our brains.  The greatest variables are gender, developmental stages, social experiences, stress and nutrition.  It is these factors that influence and change the way the brain filters and processes incoming data and the instruction it gives to the muscles to act.  Two important seasons in our development make this unique brain very sensitive to change, ie. Pre-school and Teen years.  Our children have lived through a highly stressful experience.  Tread carefully and gently.  We want to preserve the uniqueness of our children without allowing our behaviour to negatively express the transcription function of their genes.  We know that stress, trauma, social factors and even our negative thinking can have a disturbing effect on the 25 000 genes in the human body.

Treat every brain you work with or raise as a sensitive, unique being.

2. This is a highly connected brain

This is a highly connected brain

The human brain operates as a complex system of systems.  What happens in one area of the brain impacts millions of neural cells all over the brain.  Cells are never neutral.  They are either growing or contracting.  How you feel affects how you think and what you sense.  Everything is connected.  

What you say to a student may impact him way beyond your intention.  Despite the impact on the academic year and the economy, keep the client connected and positive.

3. The brain has a limited ability to pay attention

The brain has a limited ability to pay attention

When you call on a student to pay attention – it literally costs!  Think of a child as having to pull out their wallets and pay attention. The brain battles to pay attention.  It requires incredible energy.  Educators need to plan carefully to spread out the input and revisit it in different contexts.  Having more time at school does not improve attention.   Overload has a negative impact on our emotional cognitive processes.

In-depth thinking requires time.  Plan carefully and provide sufficient time and spacing.

4. The brain requires a rough draft

The brain requires a rough draft

Seldom does the brain get explicit learning right the first time.  Visual and auditory inputs generate a rough draft which is often temporary.  The brain requires repeated presentations and opportunities in various contexts to grapple with the material in order to proof a final copy.  

If you don’t provide opportunities for rough drafts to be converted into final drafts, the brain drops the data from memory.

5. The brain is affected by the environment

The brain is affected by the environment

The environment changes the brain.  Even the expression of our genes is affected.  The level of stress and the focus on deadlines impacts the brain. Our environments have dramatically changed during COVID.  Feeling out of relationship with peers, teachers, family friends and grandparents influences our immune activity, cellular and even molecular systems and could be displayed as stress, disease or a change of behaviour.  

Educators determine the thinking environment for their students.  The longer the brain spends in an environments the better it adapts and becomes committed.  Make school a great place to be.

6. Unconscious Brains Learn

Unconscious brains learn

Our brains our unaware of most of what they are learning because data enters the brain too fast.  Most of our learning is implicit (implied).  Full conscious learning (explicit) is different from our automatic learning.

Implied messages run our brain.  Make time to explicitly give students precise feedback so that they fully understand their progress, know their gifts and are aware of the support to assist them with their challenges.  

7. This brain survives on prediction

The brain survives on prediction

The brain relies on prediction and estimation based on previous knowledge.  It scans all previous experience for both basic functions and success. Avoid the constant demand for the “correct answer”.  The right or wrong, red tick or cross has no place in a mind, brain education science school.  Rather Yet/Not Yet approach helps to grow competence.

Make allowance for errors based on prediction.  When a student errs, avoid basing your correction on the facts and accept that they may have “jumped” to a conclusion based on a prediction. 

8. This brain is dependent on reward

The brain is dependent on reward

Our brain has a strong craving for reward and works hard to avoid the negative. It often become addicted to predictable rewards received from television, adrenaline, drugs, nicotine and gambling. Replace those addictions with regular classroom or home celebrations.

Design your class management around the positive.  This sends a powerful message to the brain about learning, school and being successful.

9. This brain is constantly seeking to make meaning

The brain is constantly seeking to make meaning

The brain is designed to never shut off, but the more important the meaning is, the greater the brain pays attention and shapes the information.

Always explain the reason for learning a new unit of work.  Focus on the why.

10. This is a susceptible brain

Brain Rule 10 - This is a susceptible brain

The cells in the human body are either in a growth mode, protective mode or contraction mode. The younger we are the more vulnerable we are to the negative factors like stress, trauma and abuse.

The brain takes in both the good and the bad.  Young brains need to be protected at all costs.

As we live through a time of great uncertainty, we must remain focused on the 10 Brain Rules to ensure we connect, teach, instruct and coach our children in such a way that they feel safe, that they have worth and that they can succeed, despite setbacks.

The Challenge: Create a lesson (focus on delivery style) which embodies as many of the 10 brain rules as possible. Let us know what lesson you taught, how you did it, and how the students reacted


Comments 1

  1. very interesting how the 10 brains rules function and need to operate. Gives me better insight into how to deal with children in my class. I would love to print the different pictures and meanings, so that I can look at it every day when I am faced with a child who has any of those brains 1 – 10…wow

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