The brain is a big deal in education these days. Hardly a professional development session is held without the phrase “brain research shows…” being used. A couple of years ago, Brain Rulesby John Medina was all the rage in Summer professional development workshops.
And while I do not dismiss the brain research and indeed find it valuable, I liked this little study that was conducted on what educators actually know about how the brain works. It seems there are a lot of misconceptions going around in education land, so I thought I would, as a public service to my dear readers, provide you with the exact surgery questions they asked in there study.
There are 32 in all.
Answer whether you think these “brain facts” are True (T) or False (F)
Correct answers are at the bottom.
1. We use our brains 24 h a day.
2. Children must acquire their native language before a second language is learned. If they do not do so neither language will be fully acquired.
3. Boys have bigger brains than girls.
4. If pupils do not drink sufficient amounts of water (=6–8 glasses a day) their brains shrink.
5. It has been scientifically proven that fatty acid supplements (omega-3 and omega-6) have a positive effect on academic achievement.
6. When a brain region is damaged other parts of the brain can take up its function.
7. We only use 10% of our brain.
8. The left and right hemisphere of the brain always work together.
9. Differences in hemispheric dominance (left brain, right brain) can help explain individual differences amongst learners.
10. The brains of boys and girls develop at the same rate.
11. Brain development has finished by the time children reach secondary school.
12. There are critical periods in childhood after which certain things can no longer be learned.
13. Information is stored in the brain in a network of cells distributed throughout the brain.
14. Learning is not due to the addition of new cells to the brain.
15. Individuals learn better when they receive information in their preferred learning style (e.g., auditory, visual, kinesthetic).
16. Learning occurs through modification of the brains’ neural connections.
17. Academic achievement can be affected by skipping breakfast.
18. Normal development of the human brain involves the birth and death of brain cells.
19. Mental capacity is hereditary and cannot be changed by the environment or experience.
20. Vigorous exercise can improve mental function.
21. Environments that are rich in stimulus improve the brains of pre-school children.
22. Children are less attentive after consuming sugary drinks and/or snacks.
23. Circadian rhythms (“body-clock”) shift during adolescence, causing pupils to be tired during the first lessons of the school day.
24. Regular drinking of caffeinated drinks reduces alertness.
25. Exercises that rehearse co-ordination of motor-perception skills can improve literacy skills.
26. Extended rehearsal of some mental processes can change the shape and structure of some parts of the brain.
27. Individual learners show preferences for the mode in which they receive information (e.g., visual, auditory, kinesthetic).
28. Learning problems associated with developmental differences in brain function cannot be remediated by education.
29. Production of new connections in the brain can continue into old age.
30. Short bouts of co-ordination exercises can improve integration of left and right hemispheric brain function.
31. There are sensitive periods in childhood when it’s easier to learn things.
32. When we sleep, the brain shuts down
False: 2,4,5,7,9,10,11,12,15,19,21,22,25,28,30, 32
How did you score?
28-32 Correct: Your Brain Rules!
22-27 Correct: Pretty Brainy
18-21 Correct: You need to read some brain research books
Less than 18 Correct: Time to do some brain research on your own!