Brain Awareness Week: Senior School

It was a busy week at the Senior School with many opportunities for both students and faculty to expand their understanding of the human brain as part of Brain Awareness Week. On Monday, AP Biology and AP Psychology students heard from Dr. Eric Chudler (University of Washington). The campus was also visited by lots of friendly canines thanks to the Pacific Animal Therapy Society, who demonstrated how animals can reduce our stress levels.

On Wednesday, Frank Kros spoke to all students about how their brains function and gave a lunchtime talk on the link between leadership and brain research. He also gave a talk for faculty (The New IQ: Understanding Executive Function Skills Inside and Outside the Classroom) and parents (Inside Information for Parents: Childhood Foundations of Adult Happiness).

The week wrapped up with a Brain Bowl competition on Thursday and an acoustic concert and brain food barbecue on Friday.

Special Guest: Frank Kros

by Charlie White, Grade 12

Mr. Frank Kros spoke to the Senior School students today about how to maximize our brain’s potential when it comes to learning and studying. His lecture was very entertaining and interesting! Mr. Kros’s energy, enthusiasm and thirst for knowledge about the brain’s power was inspiring. He explained how as teenagers we are incredibly fortunate because our brain is rapidly maturing right now, and we are more educated about the brain than ever before.

He taught us the least effective, moderately effective and most effective study techniques. I was surprised to learn that re-reading and underlining text and the use of mnemonics or memory aids are among the least effective methods of studying, whereas the most effective techniques are creating flashcards and taking practice tests. He also recommended “cross training” our brains by studying one subject for a short period of time and then switching to another subject. This “cross training” allows the brain to focus for longer periods of time and to create connections between different academic subjects.

Mr. Kros also taught us how to listen using the HEAR technique. He explained to us that we should Halt (stop all self talk and inner thoughts), Engage (turn towards the speaker), Anticipate (anticipate what the speaker will say next) and Replay (immediately replay what the speaker said in your mind as fast as possible). These simple tasks help our brains in receiving and holding onto information.

We also learned that as teenagers we need 9.25 hours of sleep and that during sleep our brains convert short-term “working” memory to long-term memory that we can then recall as needed. Mr. Kros was an incredibly informative and engaging speaker. I feel that, as students and teenagers, there were many valuable points from his presentation that we can apply to our daily lives, in and out of the classroom.

For more about Brain Awareness Week, take a look at a video from our first Brain Awareness Week.

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