Saturday, February 15, 2014

TBBB Chapter 7: Four Cognitive Modes

“First, it’s important to realize that although the predictions we just summarized flow naturally from the theory, we have not directly tested them [the cognitive modes.]” 

This is where I start to become skeptical and a little unsure of the book. Why do you publish something before you have tested your theory? Can you call it a theory without having tested it? You derived your theory by looking at a bunch of other peoples research, did the authors do any of their own research to back up their theory? Is this just another pop culture phenomena about how to classify people? 


The summarized the four cognitive modes in this chapter: mover, perceiver, stimulator, adaptor.

Here is chart they used in the book to allow you to see where the modes stem from:

Highly Utilized Top
Minimally Utilized Top
Highly Utilized Bottom
Mover ModePerceiver Mode
Minimally Utilized Bottom
Stimulator Mode
Adaptor Mode

As I read through the different descriptions of the modes I found that I best identified with the mover mode. They describe people who operate in the mover mode as people who are inclined to implement plans (top brain) and also register the consequences (bottom brain). I find this an accurate description of my personality. They also say people who operate in the Mover Mode are often leaders. I find myself comfortable in leadership roles and my role as department chair at school serves as evidence of this.

TBBB Chapter 6: Interacting Systems

My favorite part of this chapter was reading the story about Phineas Gage. It is crazy that he was able to survive a tamping iron shooting through his brain and destroying the top and bottom part of the front side of his left brain. With this type of distraction is makes sense to me that he was no longer the same person after the accident. The book talks about how the accident damaged and alter how the top and bottom brain communicated together. And it was the change in how the parts of his brain now interacted that altered much of the way he behaved. As I was reading, I kept thinking I couldn’t imagine being a whole different person. I also wonder if he was aware that he changed so much? Did he want to return to who he used to be? Was he frustrated because he couldn’t?


If we as a campus applied what I read about how the is always connecting new patterns and information to the patterns we have stored in our brain and that our brain is always creating associations with previous information then as teachers we should first be concerned with revealing what our students already know and think. If we can only learn something new by connecting it to something old then we must always consider what our students bring to the classroom.


This idea also connects to the chapter Quinton and Holly has us read for staff development about the theory of the world. 

Monday, February 3, 2014

TBBB Chapter 5: Sweeping Claims

The author uses the concrete idea of how a bicycle works to describe the abstract way the brain works. The idea is that a bicycle is made up of many different parts, but all of these parts work together to help the bike move forward and a person get from one place to another. The connection to the brain is that the brain also has many different parts but that the brain has to work together to accomplish the goal. This could be the right and left brain or the top and bottom brain. The parts of the brain were designed to work together. 


Much of this chapter was spent debunking the popular of the division between the left brain and the right brain. Here is a recent pod cast that asking a similar the question: "Does the story of two hemispheres stand up?"


One of my favorite parts of this chapter was when the talked about that the fine print matters. There are generalizations that get made and science turns in to popular lore when the fine print is ignored. It also talked about how we simplify the story. This isn't always bad to simplify things if done in the right way but can lead to problems.

These ideas of ignoring the fine print and simplifying information wrongly makes me think about two other stories that people want to simplify, ignore the fine print, or believe pop culture over science. The two stories that come to mind are climate change and the new resistance to vaccinating children.

I like this response by Joe Hanson on his blog It's Okay to Be Smart about how to respond to someone that doesn't acknowledge climate change. I think he brings up an important point that the person has some deeper reason why not to believe the science and that you might figure that out before you will be able to change their mind. 

This is an important connection to teaching. We must first uncover students misconceptions before we will be able to have them grasp new content. People want to hold onto their stories and beliefs.

The second idea of people being resistance to vaccinating their children is really sad to me. It is also scary. There have been a rise in preventable diseases that had once been very rare in the developed world. You can see it here in the map from NPR that has been floating around on social media. 

TBBB Chapter 4: Reasoning Systems

In this chapter I learned that there are two different types of metal imagery, spatial imagery and object imagery. I learned that they are different because spatial mental imagery relies on the top-brain system and object metal imagery relies on the bottom-brain system.  I also learned that you can be good at one but not good at the other type. I like how in this chapter they went into some of the statistical analysis about how you cannot predict about one of the types by knowing about the other. What I mean by this is that if you good at spatial imagery, you are not necessarily bad at object imagery. This statement could be true but it does not have to be. You could be good at both spatial and object imagery. I think this is important because I think we tend to think a lot in either/or's. This does not always have to be the case. I also like that this chapter spent the time to explain some of the basics of statistical analysis and what it means. I think that statistics are an important thing for people to be aware of. 


I think the following quote could have an implication for classrooms.

Artists and scientists "were also shown a graph that charted the position of an object over time... The scientists tended to see it as an abstract representation of changes in position over time. By contrast, the artists understood the graph 'as a literal pictorial illustration of a situation or was the path of the actual motion and did not attempt to interpret the graph as an abstract schematic representation.' ...The artist and scientists clearly visualized differently."

I think the quote has big implication in the classroom. We often use visuals to illustrate abstract concepts in the science classroom. What I did not know until was that students have different ways in how they see visual images. They can look at the image in different ways because the process the visual with a different part of the brain. This makes me think that if teachers were more knowledgable about how the brain process information we would understand student responses more in-depth. Or understand why certain types of thinkers have trouble with certain concepts. We would be able to say, "Some of you may see the image this way... Some of you may look at it like this..." And be explain the visual concepts through different points of view.