Q. A teacher friend recently attended your Brain and Learning seminar. He said it was great and mentioned your “Who Am I? Pyramid” Model. What is that?

A. In a nut shell, the "Who Am I? Pyramid is a model to help portray key components of innate giftedness related to brain function. Each human being is a unique blend of at least four key brain-function components, each of which can be thought of as a separate overlay, which is one reason individual brains can differ so dramatically from one another. Learning by design begins with identifying and honoring each brain’s innate giftedness. This requires an understanding of these key components of brain function. They help to define one’s individual uniqueness, can help explain similarities versus differences, and can assist in developing strategies to enhance learning.

Learning can be defined as skills or knowledge acquired through instruction, study, or experience. Learning is impacted by the learner’s unique brain, tools that are available, and the teacher’s unique brain (if a teacher is involved). Even when these components are well matched with an undamaged brain, learning effectiveness may still be marginal due to a whole host of other factors (e.g., amount of sleep, type of food eaten, interest in the topic, past experience, presence of fear).

Miss one of these four key components in the learning environment and learning effectiveness can diminish. Miss two or more components and learning effectiveness can drop off dramatically!

Following are brief descriptions of the layers of the Pyramid, beginning with the basic layer:

  • Gender Brain Preference. The brain’s gender style: systemizing, empathizing, or balanced
  • Extroversion-Introversion Preference. The brain’s type of focus: internal, external, or a 50-50 mix (introversion, extraversion, ambiversion)
  • Sensory System Preference. The brain’s response to sensory data (the type of stimuli that registers most quickly and intensely in your brain)

Thinking Process Preference or brain lead. The brain’s relative energy advantage for processing information (what types of activities take the least amount of brain energy versus those that take 100 times more energy).