Monday, March 15, 2010

All the Brain News That's Fit to Print

For anyone with an interest in education, learning, and building success for all students, I highly recommend the new book, The New Science of Teaching and Learning, by Tracey Tokuhama-Espinosa. Tracey is a pioneer in the fledgling field of Mind, Brain, and Education Science. In 2008 she convened 26 learning experts to sort the facts from the myths about the brain and learning. Astonishingly, this esteemed group concluded that just a handful of ideas about the brain and learning are actually well-supported by research. The rest are “neuromyths.”

In her book Tracy describes the “facts,” including that human brains are as unique as faces in terms of organization and that brains are dynamic and constantly changed by experience. In other words, each morning we wake with a different brain than the one we had when we went to bed.

Some of the “neuromyths” include that water is brain food (just because the human body is composed of a large amount of water doesn’t mean that chugging agua boosts learning) and that right-brained learners are more creative (the whole right- vs. left-brained thing hasn’t fared so well in the research).

Not only does this book have great content, but it is also a great read. Tracey takes all of this important information and crafts a compelling argument about how we should use science to make better decisions about teaching and learning.

Tracey is a Professor of Education at the Universidad San Francisco de Quito in Ecuador where she directs the Brain, Mind and Educational Development Institute and the Evaluation and Academic Excellence Center. She is also polyglot who is rearing her children to speak multiple languages.

Bottom line- cool book by a cool author.

Craig Pohlman is the author of How Can My Kid Succeed in School? and Revealing Minds, and co-author of Schools for All Kinds of Minds.