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May 01 , 2010

Teaching to the Brain's Natural Learning Systems


What do we know about the brain's day-to-day functions? What does neuroscience tell us about how we learn? How can we make sense of the complex interconnections of billions of neurons in the human brain?Just as educators divide many subjects into parts, goals, and learning objectives, we can begin to understand the workings of the human brain by focusing on five learning systems: emotional, social, cognitive, physical, and reflective. In Teaching to the Brain's Natural Learning Systems, Barbara K. Given has investigated brain structures and functions of these five systems and applied findings from neurobiology to education without making leaps of judgment or unfounded claims. In this book, she translates neuroscience into an educational framework for lesson planning, teaching, and assessment. Educators can use details from each chapter to add to their repertoire of teaching strategies and instructional approaches. For example, understanding the five learning systems promotes effective, ongoing assessment of youngsters' basic human needs to belong, to know, to do, to reflect, and to be one's self. In addition, each chapter can help teachers' understand the roles they play (mentor/model, collaborator, facilitator, coach, and talent scout) and the personal/professional qualities they bring to the classroom (passion, vision, intention, action, and reflection). This is a practical book for educators based on current neurobiological insights into learning.Barbara K. Given is an associate professor in the Graduate School of Education and the director of the Adolescent Learning Research Center, Krasnow Institute for Advanced Studies, at George Mason University, Fairfax, Virginia.
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