Quiz # 2 Students as Learners

EDU 6132- Students as Learners

Quiz #2

1. Does intelligence change across lifespan?

This depends on who you listen to.  According to (Brody, 1992; Brody & Brody, 1978) “… IQ scores at 7 correlate at least .60 with IQ scores at 18.” (p. 235).  This shows that intelligence, while not set in stone, does not change drastically from childhood to adulthood.  There is still .40 chance for change, however, which could provide for increases and decreases in intelligence. Testing on infants has not proved to be an effective tool for measuring later childhood or adult intelligence.  Once adulthood is reached the outlook for intelligence increasing is slim.  “After age 20, it was all downhill.” (p. 237).

If you are looking at intelligence according to Cattell and Horn’s Theory of Intelligence across the Lifespan, both crystallized and fluid intelligence must be measured.  Crystallized intelligence is the testing of “…items indicating breadth and depth of cultural knowledge, such as vocabulary knowledge.   Fluid intelligence is measured by items requiring reasoning abilities, such as inductive and deductive reasoning, to understand relations among stimuli, comprehend implications and draw inferences.” (p. 238).  Because of the natural neuron loss that comes with age, around 50,000 neurons a day,  fluid intelligence declines as it is “…strongly dependent on biological wholeness.” (p. 238).  In contrast to fluid intelligence, crystallized intelligence, directly relates to life experience.  Thus intelligence can increase as we age and go through life; multiplying not only our life experiences but our maturational growth.  All this needs to be taken into account with relation to “…speed of processing and differences in the amount of education.” (p. 238).   There is an end to crystallized intelligence growth at about 70 years of age.

2. Is giftedness a blessing or a curse?

Giftedness can be seen as both a blessing and a curse, depending on which lens you are looking through.  Giftedness usually indicates an IQ of 130 or higher, however, there is variation in this score.  Being a gifted student can be challenging if there is not enough work or support to encourage your talents.  With the right teaching style and implementation of appropriate curriculum, giftedness can be reinforced and stimulated.  Learning diversity will always be present in any classroom.  The blessing is when this diversity is embraced and successfully promoted in all learners.  It is a curse when these highly gifted students have little support for developing and directing their talents appropriately.  “The gifted use more advanced strategies than peers of average intelligence on memory and problem solving tasks.  They also have superior metacognition.” (p. 247).  Because of this, gifted children need to be understood and thoughtfully planned for, when developing and combining advanced and grade level curriculum in a classroom setting.

3. How can you create a motivating classroom?  Cite Rafe’s teaching practices for examples.

That is the question; however, I think there is no one simple answer.  I would first like to visit the example of motivation through rewards.  In the Colbert Report video shared in class, monetary rewards were given to the students for high test scores/grades. While this “payment plan” worked in the short term, it did not last, motivation was not sustained.  This example provided a contrast in ideology of what motivates students extrinsic rewards vs. intrinsic motivation.  What became evident for me was that teachers have to find a way to motivate students intrinsically (no small feat) that is most likely different for each student.  When looking at Thorndike’s Law of Effect, “people repeat satisfying behaviors”.  So how do we know what is satisfying to each student?  I think it is through careful monitoring of each students socio-emotional status.
In the example of, The Hobart Shakespeareans, Rafe Esquith’s amazing teaching style and his ability to intuitively monitor his students’ socio-emotional status was inspirational. Rafe motivates his students by empowering them.  He doesn’t pay them or give them “stuff” he “lights a fire within” each student by explicitly addressing his high expectations and treating each student with respect.  He doesn’t talk down to them.  He doesn’t sugar coat anything.  He tells the kids exactly what he expects and how things need to work to be a success.  This was apparent when he was sharing his expectations of the commitment to performing Shakespeare.  “How many are ready to kill their T.V.?” he asked when describing the commitment level he expects of all students who are interested in performing. “This is about hard work even when you go home.  If you can’t live without T.V., this isn’t your class.”  When talking about why he loves to teach 10 year olds he says, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, I like to get kids on the right track early.”

In addition to his exploration of the dramatic arts, Rafe is open and honest when sharing his own emotions about literature, specifically The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.  It is apparent Rafe has provided a safe environment where each student can openly and honestly express who they are and what they feel as they read emotionally rich texts aloud. Moreover, Rafe engages the students through a high level of repetitive praise, constructive correction and creativity that leaves the children begging to participate.  Individual motivation becomes a self-fulfilling (intrinsic) journey for the students through the support, encouragement and impressive honesty Rafe provides.  His passion is contagious, spreading like a virus through his class, infecting the students with the desire and motivation to work hard.  A clear example of this was seen when a young girl read for the part of Ophelia with passion and desire that even Rafe was impressed by.  Students want to do better, share more, try even harder because their teacher believes in them and in turn they believe in themselves.

4. Whose theories of development did you find more useful as a classroom teacher: Erikson or Vygotsky?

I find both to be useful however, I think that I have to side with Erikson for effectiveness of psychosocial stage theory in the classroom.  As examined in the Rafe Esquith example provided in question three,  I think the attention to socio-emotional well-being of students is imperative to providing a motivationally charged environment where learning can take place.  In Erikson’s study of development he was, “…struck by the adaptability of people to their surroundings.” (p. 145).  By exploring identity and identity crisis Erikson’s acknowledged the significance of peer social pressures on intellectual development.  “What is especially important is the adolescence’s new intellectual ability to think about hypothetical situations and to compare hypothetical outcomes.” (p.147).  This then should become a major theme in classroom structure when developing critically thinking students and socio-emotionally safe classroom environments.  Throughout Erikson’s eight stages of development we are afforded opportunities to support and encourage the development of healthy citizens in the classroom and of the world in the future.  It is apparent what a large part teachers play in encouraging positive identity development of students through actions inside and outside of the classroom.  “One of the more important tenets of psychoanalytically oriented theories is that what happens during early childhood affect development after that.  Thus Erikson’ theorized, there is continuity and connection with issues of trust and mistrust across development.” (p. 149).  In this connection I see the role of teacher and classroom environment as paramount to supporting positive identity development.

5. Describe how you might create a humane emotionally charged classroom learning event?

According to Medina, “Emotionally charged environments can be divided into two categories: those that no two people experience identically and those that everybody experiences identically.” (p.81). When a mother yells at her children each child my experience that yelling event differently.  However, if held at gun point we might all experience the same fight-or-flight emotion that is part of our evolutionary heritage.  But how do you incorporate this into a classroom humanely?  It is possible to do while developing topics/lessons while incorporating more than one of the five senses.  For example, telling a story while playing music alters the nature of the experience. A great memory I have of when this was when I was taking a class on film studies. We had to present a film where we had changed the music to reflect a different emotion that was originally planned.  The most memorable example related to the film The Shining.  This extremely scary film was presented to the class, but changed with music and scenes depicting a romantic comedy (although this is not the exact example this link provides a contemporary example of the same film).  This appealed to the student through sight and sound and ultimately changed our perception.  I still remember this clip and class very well because of this emotionally charged classroom learning event.  Making something memorable through a combination of sight, sound, touch, smell, and taste attaches it to more than one memory storage bank, offering more locations in the brain for later retrieval.  Medina offers this idea of a humane emotionally charged classroom through three steps when using direct instruction or a lecture.  “After nine minutes and 59 seconds, the audience’s attention is getting ready to plummet near zero.” (p. 91). This is where step one comes in as a hook that triggers emotion. “Fear, laughter, happiness, nostalgia, incredulity- the entire emotional palette could be stimulated, and all worked well.”(p.91). Second, the hook has to be relevant to the audience so that they ended up “…feeling engaged.” (p. 91).  Lastly the hook had to reflect either the information before or after the hook itself.   These hooks must be intentionally planned by the teacher and relevant to the material in order to sustain audience attention and help provide support to the emotionally charged event.

6. What are the three parts of stress?  Are you stressed right now? How do you know?

Three components of stress as explained by Medina are:

1)      “Aroused physiological response”- like a jolt of adrenaline

2)      “Stressor perceived as aggressor”- if given the choice would you chose not to deal with the stressor?

3)      “Loss of control or feeling of helplessness”- unable to handle the stressful situation, complete breakdown. (pp.172-174).

Am I stressed now?  I would have to say less than I was two hours ago when I had been working on this quiz for three hours straight.  I just returned from a yoga class, and as we learned earlier in Medina’s book, exercise is very beneficial to relieving stress.  However, if you give me a minute to start thinking about all that I have to accomplish in the next few hours, weeks, even moments before my daughter walks in the door and concentration plummets, I can sense tension moving up my spine.  I can imagine tears pushing from behind my eyelids.  I can sense an overwhelming feeling of doom surrounding all the papers, seminars, quizzes and additional classes I need to finish and that doesn’t even take into account financial obligations, martial relationships, family obligations, personal well-being and physiological basic necessities being avoided because of lack of time. If given the choice I would ignore it all and hope that it would go away (though I know this is not an option). SO yes I am stressed but I have come to an understanding that in order to be a more successful mother, wife, student, employee, friend, and soon to be teacher there needs to be balance and perspective.  Admittedly, some days are better than others.  I try to take one thing at a time so that stress doesn’t take me over.  I plan time for studies, exercise, sleep, and down time.  I plan for social, family, spiritual obligations.  Stress, when left unattended and unorganized, can lead to difficulties in problem solving, creativity, retention, and sickness.  I try to plan but even sometimes the best laid plans go haywire and stress takes over.


Medina, John (2008). Brain Rules. Seattle, WA: Pear Press

Pressley, M McCormick, C. (2007). Child and Adolescent Development for Educators. New York, NY: The Guilford Press

Shining: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KmkVWuP_sO0

EDU 6132 Students as Learners

EDU 6132- Students as Learners

Personal Reflective Paper- Sarah Taylor

My Story

I grew up in a small affluent suburb outside San Francisco, called Moraga.  Being the youngest of seven children there were always siblings around and usually a friend or two.  Our house was a place to hang out for anyone, it was safe, comfortable, and there was always a meal being cooked with plenty of extra- everyone was welcome.  Although I do remember my childhood very fondly I have very little recollection of academic learning at home.  I have the occasional memory of reading with my mom before bed or my dad telling me stories he made up about the Adventures of Edward Bear.  I liked to read and had books, but I mostly explored them on my own. I  do have some recollections of reading whenever we were in the car, our family VW van, which was quite often.  I would read signs aloud and hear my mother praise me from the front seat, “Good job, Sarah that does say ‘post office’.  You are becoming quite the reader.” I was a bright kid, reading and math came easy for me, but as far as any sort of formal education or practice there just was not a lot of time for individual help until the public education system took over.

So off I went to Donald L. Rheem Elementary School, Rheem for short, where I quickly learned school was fun.  I could make new friends.  I could draw pictures using a whole tub of crayons.  I learned to play on the outside equipment and had blisters on my hands from mastering the monkey bars.  I could paint.  I could do a cherry-drop off the bar if my friend spotted me.  I got to ride the bus to and from school on my own.  I could even run faster that some of the kids in my class and I was not a fast runner!  But looking back I still don’t have any memory of anything more than just plain fun until I landed in Mrs. Wiley’s 2ndgrade class.  Now that was where I LEARNED!  And what I learned was that learning could be fun.  Mrs. Wiley was a genius.  She taught us to be creative, think differently, explore alternative approaches to an old idea, to try and try again, to sing math songs, that we were special, that we were unique, to be thoughtful and courageous, to try new things and take chances, that each student in her class had some gift to share and most importantly (at least to me at this stage) that we were all individuals! Now, for a kid who until then always been known as the youngest of seven, Mrs. Wiley opened my eyes up to a world of opportunities to explore who I was, what I had to offer and the person I wanted to become as an individual.  Mrs. Wiley inspired me to believe I could do anything.

I was a child who liked the creative side of things, to sing, to draw-paint-color, to read and perform.  While some teachers could have seen these desires as a distraction, Mrs. Wiley simply encouraged them.  She did a seamless job of involving the creative and the structured while involving the prescribed curriculum; reading, writing and arithmetic.  A great example was her use of the mnemonic technique through songs, some we would sing every day and often multiple times throughout the day.  When we were introduced to our 3 and 4 times-tables we learned a song for each.  We would sing it as we moved into the class in the morning.  We would sing it as we moved from activity to activity and we would always sing it when we were focusing on a math lesson.  To this day I still remember this song.  I use it often and have even taught it to my daughters who I hear singing it as they complete their homework.  In John Medinas book Brain Rules he examines, in rule # 5, the importance of repetition to remember.  This example of song provides the support that repetition when linked with an additional association provides for better memory retention.   It was fun, it was easy (once the concept was attained), it didn’t single any one person out and it supported those who may have struggled with this concept if left on their own.  It gave us 2nd graders a tool to use to remember and it worked!  This 2nd grade class introduced me to a me I never knew: an individual me.  Mrs. Wiley encouraged me to blossom and embrace learning through fun techniques and helped shape an individual who for the first time developed memories of learning.

The Theory

I believe this marker event or in my case this marker year directly correlates to the Social Learning Theory, most specifically- motivational processing.  As defined in Pressley and McCormick, “Children learn many things just from watching others.  That is, other people serve as behavioral models.  This is the main principle of social learning theory, proposed by Albert Bandura and his colleagues (Bandura, 1969; Bandura & Walters, 1963).” (p.122).   It is through these observed behaviors and experiences that I was motivated by Mrs. Wiley as a student.  Up until then I was part of a group, a family of seven kids shaped by the dynamic of being one of many.  I was social but didn’t see myself individually.  This theory of social learning in name alone states a quality that I possessed and could easily succeed at; being social.  If I could benefit from being a social learner then I would be motivated to try harder, prove more, and succeed at finding my uniqueness. I believe Mrs. Wiley saw this quality in me, in all her students.  By understanding my ease at social interactions and comfort with learning in this style her curriculum worked to promote motivational processing for me.  In other words, I was motivated to learn simply by Mrs. Wiley’s style of teaching.  This is not to discount her skills in teaching less social students, she succeeded there too, but it is to point out the possibility that a certain teaching styles can motivate learners more easily than others.  I was interested in what she taught because of how she taught it.  The social interactions, whether it was singing, performing, visiting younger classes to read etc., these demonstrated a style of learning that motivated me try harder.

This theory of social learning correlates directly with the environment in which it is taught.  Mrs. Wiley set her class up as a social environment, one where a social child, like me, could observe positive and encouraging behaviors that would stimulate motivational learning. “There is a reciprocal determinism (Bandura, 1986): the child’s reactions to environmental events affect subsequent events.” (p.125).  I believe that by examining this theory of social learning and motivation I see myself in the camp of “interactionist”.  I see a strong relationships between children and their provided environment, whether this is family, teacher, after school program, church etc.  I think that my everyday involvement in Mrs. Wiley class shaped my learning process.  I was an active member of an environment that allowed me to explore, learn, and succeed.

The passive vs. active child is the first binary I match with my experience.  I think that children can be both passive and active and it depends on the environment as to which they choose to be in any given situation.  In my case this rich, social, and playful environment engaged me as an active and willing participant to learn and thrive.  It stimulated me to be an active contributor to the environment instead of just a passive observer.  If I was presented with an environment completely void of social interactions and no creativity I would have switched to the passive learner and thus allowed my environment to influence me with little or no interaction. The second binary I would match with my experience would be nature vs. nurture.  I will explain this in relationship to my family dynamic and the social nature of being part of a large, friendly, welcoming, Catholic family.  I was taught and observed through the actions of both my parents and my brothers and sisters to be open with people and social experiences.  Often surrounded by many different groups of people I was encouraged to interact with anyone; young, old, boy, girl. I didn’t know any different, it was my nurture.  My family always welcomed friends to accompany us on trips and we would often go camping with other families or end up “hanging out” with our new friends at any given campsite.  From a religious aspect Catholics are very social people.  Between school, church, and activities there was never a lack of events to attend and opportunities to develop naturally a social learning style that motivated me.  I was always part of a group.  Had my existence been one of only child interactions, I may have been more reserved, however I feel it is my nature to seek out social experiences.  Additionally, in this very crowded childhood I was constantly struggling for a voice, to be heard among seven children vying for attention I had to be active participant of my development.  My individuality was important to me but was hard to come by until I recognized myself through Mrs. Wiley’s lens of individual importance.  Her gift to me was to understand that being part of a whole is wonderful but knowing you are an individual is powerful.

How will this influence me as a teacher?

I would hope that these experiences and life lessons have helped me to become a reflective, involved, understanding, empathetic and creative teacher.  I have, through many years of re-telling stories of my childhood, been able to reflect on the positive and the negative aspects. I have clarity that this upbringing of “controlled chaos” (my mother’s term), the many years of the good and not so good teacher experiences, and years of real life experience that I can share with learners.  I have additionally gained perspective through the many reflections I have written and those I have read of peers in this MAT program.  All this enables me to have empathy for and copathy with the vast spectrum of experiences and knowledge that surrounds me.  I feel that I will be able to offer the students in my future classroom a safe and accepting environment to learn.

I am a social learner, this motivates me and in this motivation I know that I will be able to be positively involved with students.  I see value in uniqueness and I believe that I am a good judge of what individual students offer.  I possess an understanding of where students might have needs and I am passionate about creativity in learning and developing curriculum to support the needs of the students.  I feel that in order to be an effective teacher I must affect the students positively and with enthusiastic conviction. Although no one knows what the future holds I have faith that I will do my best to honor every student  and hopefully encourage them to in turn be the best they can be, as Mrs. Wiley fostered this sense of worth during my formative years.  On the back of my report card from the 2nd grade Mrs. Wiley writes, “The compassionate manner Sarah displays will always help her in life.” (1979) I hope that these words will ring true as I enter into the teaching profession.  I hope to use the compassion that Mrs. Wiley saw in me to become a successful teacher.  I realize this is going to be very challenging, some days more than others.  But I also realize that this will be the most amazing journey to embark on.   As Robert Hutchins said,

It must be remembered that the purpose of education
is not to fill the minds of students with facts…
it is to teach them to think, if that is possible,
and always to think for themselves

I hope to influence future students by challenging myself every day to see things in a new light, by thinking outside of the box, by accepting support from others, by allowing students to guide me as I support and guide them in learning, by supporting individuality, by remembering what it was like to be a kid, and lastly by having high expectations of the students and more importantly of myself.


Medina, John (2008). Brain Rules. Seattle, WA: Pear Press

Pressley, M McCormick, C. (2007). Child and Adolescent development for Educators. New York, NY: The Guilford Press

Quiz #1 EDU 6132- Students as Learners

EDU 6132

Students as Learners Quiz #1

Question 1:  Behavior and motor skill development and typical age of occurrence:

Behavior and motor skill development Typical age
Tells time to a quarter of an hour 8 years
Walks while holding onto something 1 year
Puts on shoes 3 years
Tells how a baseball and orange are alike 4 years
Climbs stairs; says many words 2 years
Turns head to follow moving object 2 months
Laces shoes 6 years
Sits alone for 1 minute and says “dada” 9 months
Describes the difference between bird and dog 7 years
Runs; uses simple word combinations 1year 6 months
Walks alone; says several words 1 year 3 months
Names penny, nickel, and dime 5 years

Question 2: Chapter Three; Cognitive Development

The four stages of Piaget’s theories and how learning occurs according to Piaget are as follows:

1. Sensorimotor Stage– infants are simple and action-oriented, motor schemes, object permanence, thinking only by doing.

According to Piaget this intelligence in this period involves the actions of the infant in their movement not in their mind.  For example an infant innately knows how to suck; this knowledge is then transferred from sucking their fist into sucking and exploring objects in their environment i.e.; blocks, toys, blankets, etc. At first, infants are only aware of objects that are within their sight.  Infants eventually gain object permanence as they progress in cognitive development.  This progression leads to an awareness that an object might still exist even if they cannot see it i.e.; it is hidden under a blanket, or behind a chair.  If object permanence is not present the child will simply look away or lose interest in object being hidden.

2.      Preoperational Stage– roughly coincides with the pre-school aged child.  Cognitive development increases as the child gains symbolic schemes along with motor, deferred imitation, symbolic play and language.

One of the first symbolic schemes is deferred imitation.  In deferred imitation a child might be able to mimic an observed action, say a tantrum, at a later time.  This can also be witness through symbolic play for example; a box becoming a car or a boat, a play structure becoming a castle.  According to Piaget the preoperational child is only aware of his or her environment as it relates to him or her, this is called egocentrism.  Children at this stage do not possess skills to understand how situations might affect others.  This preoperational child is unable to understand conservation tasks. They do not understand the idea that something might weigh the same even if it is a different shape. Additionally, a preoperational child is unable to cognitively undo what has been done.  This lack of reversibility could be witnessed through a lack of understanding that two different size bowls of soup could have the same liquid in them even if they do not look alike.  Even if the child was shown the same measurement amount he or she would still not be able to understand that bowl held the same amount of liquid.  This is an example of compensation and the child’s lack of recognition that dimension does not change amount.

3.      Concrete Operational Stage– corresponds roughly to elementary age child.  Schemes include motor, symbolic and operational-concrete.  Accomplishments are class inclusion, seriation, and conservation.

This concrete operational child is able to match things of same weight even if they are different shapes.  They are able to line things up numerically.  A child in the concrete operational stage is additionally able to group things together, what Piaget calls class inclusion. For example this child could circle all the squares on the page even when mixed with other symbols no matter what the size of the square. Another ability that comes with this stage is the ability to seriate. This could be demonstrated in the child’s ability to arrange or put in order, objects smallest to biggest- balls, sticks, blocks… etc.

4.      Formal Operational Stage– corresponds with early adolescents.  Character schemes present are motor, symbolic, operational-concrete and formal.  Accomplishments include thinking in possibilities, thinking ahead and thinking in hypothesis.

Young people as this stage can think of many possibilities.  Additionally, they are able to: hypothesis and examine situations from all sides, to think ahead, test possibilities and solve problems.

Specific developmental milestones teachers could use to place child in a stage:

  • Sensorimotor- observing a child sucking on a toy, progressing to banging toy on table, to “seek and find” with toy  i.e.; reaching for, grasping, and pulling and object close for careful examination.
  • Preoperational– observing child build a house out of blocks, sculpting a rabbit out of clay, using a box to become an ambulance, allowing the child to attach mental images, language and gestures to play with objects.
  • Concrete– observing child’s ability to group items together by similarity; understanding that there are more dogs in the world than there are Chihuahuas. This child has a sense of compensation and is able to apply it to cognitive processes.
  • Formal Operations– observing the child’s ability to think about an idea, to guess the outcome and test different theories for conclusions.      This child is capable of more complex problem solving that involves multiple factors.

One way how non-Piagetians have built on his original theory:

Kurt Fischer, a neo-Piagetian theorist, realized that children use a variety of skills to accomplish tasks. Fischer believed that skills are acquired through context they experience.  A child might learn counting by helping grocery shop with his or her mother.  We need four apples for the four people in the family, two boxes of Kleenex for the two bathrooms, and one bag of dog food for the family dog.  Fisher believed that development is discontinuous like Piaget however; he embraced the idea of cognitive development that correlated to brain growth spurts.  He posited that there were 13 developmental stages which take place between birth to about age 25, with seven spurts in the first 2 years of life.  Fischer also believed that emotional development evolves in tandem with cognitive development as shown in the example of the “terrible two’s”.  Children in this stage throw tantrums emotionally based on cognitive ability to process and express willfulness, anger and frustration.  Like Piaget, Fischer has cognitive development mapped out in stages, but explores them in more “spurts” than Piaget.

Question 4: What does Genie, “the girl in the box” teach us?

I think that Genie taught us that development can happen past age 12.  However this development is vastly different than what we would witness in a subject that has environmental stimulation, daily influence and opportunity to practice skills acquired.  In Genie’s case her environment was stagnant.  She was not able to move about or touch things, let alone speak, ask questions or practice verbal skills.  This isolated nature of development lent its hand in development that was severely lacking in “normal skills”.  When Genie was found and studied she did improve but was never able to recover many skills that were lost in fundamental development.  She had progress in her verbal skills only to retreat to silence once violence was reintroduced into her world.  Her language was never developed in a logical manner.  A listener outside of her circle of doctors and scientists would find it hard to follow the thread of Genie’s words.  Genie’s speech perception was effected almost like she was a deaf child, never hearing or being able to practice patterns and inflections that are key components in language acquisition. She never fully developed her speech production and phonological development however she was able to learn many words through rote memory. The biggest problem seemed to be the disconnect of her word acquisition and recognizable sentences with structure and syntactical development.  Additionally, Genie seemed to lack many of the skills necessary for pragmatic development and was thus unable to obtain effective conversations skills.  In the video we saw Genie communicating but it seemed only on the urging of the scientist, she did not seem to initiate conversation. Although Genie was able to make remarkable strides in her development, given her background, she did not receive much of the stimulation necessary at the critical times of development.  In the end Genie was left devoid of many critical skills, language connections from developmental stages, and competency was lost.

Question 6: What brain rule is underutilized in American School?  What can teachers do to help better teach this rule?

Exercise! Exercise! Exercise!  Immediately this is what I think of when asked this question.  Many American classrooms today lack student’s actually moving their bodies except for recess and P.E.(and that happens only 2-3 times per week if that).  I think that if we can incorporate movement in lessons, not only will the students be more active in their lifestyle, but they will have better brain function. In Brain Rules, by John Medina we read how even a bit more movement throughout the day could improve cognitive processing.  “Cutting off the physical exercise- the very activity most likely to promote cognitive performance- to do better on a test score is like trying to gain weight by starving yourself.” (p. 25)   Therefore, I think that need for simple movement in the classroom is the first and simplest step to improving the way we think about exercise and cognitive development.  For example, a colleague shared a math lesson where the students were having a hard time grasping the concept of rounding up/down number.  When movement was included the student’s immediately started to “get it”.  They had the students stand up next to their desk and pretend they were football players.  They started by having the students run in place. Then when the teacher called out a number the students would have to change their position. If a number was to be rounded up (7) they continued to run but put their hands in the air, when the number was to be rounded down (3) they squatted down and if the number (5) stayed the same they continued to stay running in place.  This simple moving of the bodies engaged the cognitive processing and help the student think more clearly.  I am sure that this, too, made for a fun memory for the students to draw upon for future math rounding problems.  Simply put: “Exercise boosts brain power.” (p. 28)


Medina, John (2008). Brain Rules. Seattle, WA: Pear Press

Pressley, M McCormick, C. (2007). Child and Adolescent development for Educators. New York, NY: The Guilford Press