Build Brain Outline

Barbara Arrowsmith: Building herself a better brain: Outline

This is an example of using an outline to understand and remember material. You may notice that I use a dot to begin each line. Do NOT do this in when you write an outline. But I have not found any other way on my WordPress site builder to indent.

This information is taken from Norman Doidge’s wonderful book (highly recommended), The Brain that Changes Itself, 2007 pages 27-37. In addition to learning an interesting and significant story of neuroplasticity, it can inspire readers to believe they can change their own brains by practicing strategies that will help them improve.

Building herself a better brain

I. Barbara Arrowsmith – born with an asymmetrical body (sides are different)
.     A. Physical Problems : asymmetry
.          1. Right leg longer than left leg
.          2. Right side of body larger
.          3. Spine twisted
.          4. Left eye weaker – both eyes narrow range of vision – sees several letters at a time
.          5. When holding cup in left hand, she spilled contents.
.          6. Brain asymmetrical: some parts well-developed; some poorly developed

.     B. Mental Problems asymmetry
.          1. While auditory and visual memory excellent, very poor spatial and kinesthetic memory
.          2. Bumped into things on left side, lost things, got lost, often tripped or stumbled
.          3. Trouble pronouncing words

.     C. Social Problems
.          1. Hard to make friends. Only able to have one relationship at a time
.          2. Difficulty understanding conversation – forgot first words before reaching end of sentences
.          3. Movies made no sense until reviewing mentally over and over
.          4. Couldn’t understand by listening who was and wasn’t trustworthy

.     D. Learning Problems
.          1. Dyslexia,  writing right to left,
.          2. Couldn’t understand relationship between symbols
.               a. Poor grammar
.               b. Could memorize math facts but not understand concepts
.               c. Could not understand cause and effect
.               d. Could not read a clock

.     E. Emotional Development
.          1. Depression, uncertainty, doubt
.          2. Motto: “I don’t get it.”
.          3. Felt like the world was a fog

II. Problems in School
.     A. In the 1950s, in small town in Canada, no understanding of learning disabilities
.     B. Expected to hide her problems because it was embarrassing
.     C. If tested on facts, made scores of 100; If tested on concepts, always failed
.     D. To keep up, Barbara spent all spare time memorizing information

III. College Experiences
.     A. Studied child development to understand herself better
.     B. “Remarkable Ability” to pick up Visual cues in child development lab
.     C. Needed to read assignments more than 20 times to get some understanding

IV. Graduate School Discoveries – studying in Education
.     A.Met Joshua Cohen – another learning disabled student
.          1. Joshua ran clinic for learning disabled students teaching compensation methods
.          2. He tried to help Barbara use compensation but too time-consuming
.          3. Barbara studied students and learned they were not improving
.     B. Joshua reads work by Aleksandr Luria and suggests that Barbara read it
.         1.  Luria writes about soldier with shrapnel wound in brain
.         2. Soldier’s learning problems are similar to Barbara’s
.         3. Barbara now knows the cause of her problems – the part of her brain affected
.     C. Barbara reads article by Mark Rosenzweig
.          1. Learns rats in enriched environments develop heavier brain with greater blood supply: Neuroplasticity
.          2. Begins to realize that if she exercises the weak parts of her brain, they can grow stronger
.          3. She develops mental exercises like flash cards for reading clock and spends many hours a day practicing.
.         4. She learns to tell time and discovers improvements in grammar, math, and logic.

V. After Graduate School
.     A. She marries Joshua and they develop many new brain exercises
.     B. She begins the Arrowsmith School
.          1. School for adults and children
.          2. School does extensive testing first, then uses appropriate brain exercises
.          3. Students show amazing improvement

You may want to compare this to a summary of the same material.  Build Brain Summary

Reading the outline and the summary may help you decide which you find most helpful. Personally, I find the outline most helpful for remembering the details but the summary more helpful to prepare for an essay question.  You might want to use each of them for different kinds of material.

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