Igniting Student Potential: Teaching With the Brain's Natural Learning Process / Edition 1

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Combining brain research, teaching strategies, and sample lessons, this innovative guide is ideal for preservice and inservice teacher training and professional development.
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Editorial Reviews

Marilee Sprenger
"Well organized. I enjoyed the self-talk about bad neural networks and especially liked the brain researchin the chapters pertaining to the development of the student."
Roy Bentley
“'Handle with care’ should be on the front cover so that the eager teacher uses the book as an inspirational resource, gradually remolding practice and introducing change in appropriate increments. This book might have immediate impact if used first as a discussion starter for small groups of teachers or as a study guide for staff development or 'retreats.' The message of the book, however, goes far beyond strategies for teachers. There are issues here for school administrators, for state-mandated goals and programs, and for teacher education programs. The book certainly deserves consideration by teacher education methods instructors. Andsince parental involvement is absolutely necessary if any constructive change is to take place, imagine how discussion of this text might perk up a PTA meeting!”
Peter P. Grimmett
"Fosters a refreshing educational discourse of possibility and offers some very useful classroom strategies that work with today's youth."
Geoffrey Caine
"A wonderful guidebook for people moving toward constructivism and for many who are already there."
Dee Tadlock
"Igniting Student Potential should be on every teacher's must-read list. The book not only tells why teachers should get in tune with their students' natural learning process, but explains how to do so. If teachers have intent to construct the best possible learning environment for their students, this book is an essential tool to help them do it."
Sue Beeson
"A stimulating read. Confirms so much of what we have been trying to convey to the teachers with whom we work."
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781412917063
  • Publisher: SAGE Publications
  • Publication date: 12/19/2006
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 232
  • Product dimensions: 7.00 (w) x 9.90 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Meet the Author

Angus M. Gunn is professor emeritus at the University of British Columbia. Gunn's books, journal articles, and media productions focus on education, geography, and environmental science.

Robert W. Richburg, Ph.D., a teacher of teachers, is University Distinguished Teaching Scholar at Colorado State University.

Dr. Smilkstein speaks nationally and internationally on brain-compatible education. She has taught in middle school through graduate school including 28 years at North Seattle Community College. Currently Professor Emerita North Seattle Community College and invited faculty in Educational Psychology at Western Washington University's Woodring College of Education, Everett Campus. Publications include articles and books on brain-based curriculum and pedagogy. Author of We’re Born to Learn: Using the Brain’s Natural Learning Process to Create Curriculum (Corwin Press, 2003), which won the Delta Kappa Gamma International Society’s Educator’s Award of the Year, 2004; the second edition will be published in 2011. She is a co-author of Igniting Student Potential Using the Natural Human Learning Process (Corwin Press, 2007). M.A. (English, Michigan State University), Ph.D. (Educational Psychology, University of Washington). She has received many teaching awards, including the National Institute for Staff and Organizational Development’s Excellence Award, 1991, 1995; the College Reading and Learning Association’s highest honor, the Robert Griffin Award, 2005; Induction as a Fellow of the American Council of Developmental Education Associations, 2006, the highest honor in the field of Developmental Education.

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Table of Contents

About the Authors
Part I: Research and Theory
1. Why This book? Why Now?
The Moral of the Maginot Line
Are Our Educational “Guns” Facing in the Wrong Direction?
A Bloated Curriculum
A Testing Obsession
Cultivating the Latent Ability of Every Student
Life-Altering Teachers
The Classroom as a Community
Understanding Is a Key to Hope
A Playful Classroom
2. How Learning Happens: The Natural Human Learning Process
Students Know How to Learn; They Are Natural Learners
Trying to Find the Way
Research on the Natural Human Learning Process (NHLP)
Using the Missing Link in Math Education
If All Students Learn the Same Way, Why Are Students’ Fates Different?
A Person’s Fate: Nature or Nuture?
Helping Students See Their Potential: Students’ Self-Understanding
The Benefits of the NHLP and Metacognitive Knowledge
All Students Have an Innate Potential and Motivation to Learn
The NHLP Pedagogy
3. How the Brain Learns: Research and Application
The Seven Magic Words
Metacognition: Basic Facts about How the Brain Learns that Everyone Should Know
Emotions and the Brain: Fight or Flight
Reasons Students Are Not Motivated In School
Plasticity (Neuroplasticity)
No-Fail First-Stage Learning Tasks
Examples of No-Fail First-Stage Learning Tasks
Things That Can Make It Go Wrong
Feeding the Brain
Opportunities to Fulfill Their Potential
Part II: Classroom Applications
4. How Tall Am I? Real-world Math for Early Learners
Transition from Home to School
Creating a Brain-Friendly Environment
The Nature of Math
Math Content for Early Grades
Multiple Intelligences and Student Potential
Exploring Outside the Classroom
5. Can You Build an Igloo? Understanding the Past with Elementary Learners
Discovering the Past
Beginning the Unit
Examining a Distant Place
Inuit Society Today
6. Where Would You Locate Your Castle? Developing Potential in Early Adolescent Learners
What are the Relatively Normal Physical Changes That Occur With the Beginning of Puberty?
How Then Would We Teach?
Justin’s Teacher
Building Relationships – The Key to Early Adolescents
Enriched Environments
Boredom Reduces the Adolescent Brain
The Importance of Play
The Opposite of Play is Stress
Active Learning and Problem Solving
Connected Learning
Social Learning
The Importance of Emotion
Where Would You Put Your Castle? A Potential Igniting Teaching Unit
An Acronym to Help Us Remember These Strategies
The Early Adolescent Needs a Uniquely Skilled, Compassionate Teacher
7. What Keeps Satellites Above Earth? Scientific Investigations for Teenage Learners
Teenage Intellectual Abilities
Learning to Use Scientific Methods
Coral Atolls
Pendulum Clocks
Part III: Teacher Skills
8. Learning Communities: Falling Empire and Rising Democracy
Learning Communities
A Falling Empire
Models of Learning Communities
Student Feedback
The “Ask Them” Method for Assessment and Engaged Learning
Using “Ask Them” For Assessment in a Coordinated-Studies Learning
Community: “The Fall of Empires”
Side Benefits
Pitfalls and Trouble-Shooting
Making a First Connection
Igniting Student Potential
9. Assessment Strategies that Promote Learning and Ignite Student Potential
Instructional Sequence: Case 1
Instructional Sequence: Case 2
What Are the Differences Between Juan’s and Mary’s Approaches to Assessment?
Informal Feedback
Making Certain We Are Measuring What Our Students Are Learning
Test Considerations vs. Projects
Appendix A: Interest Inventory
Appendix B: Eporue Map
Appendix C: Juan’s Classroom
Appendix D: Using Juan’s Interest Inventory to Show Group Attitude Change
10. Developing Teachers Who Inspire Their Students
What is Different About Instruction That Allows the Brain to Learn in its Most Natural Way?
Why Does This Approach Work?
How Do Teacher Skills Differ in Problem-Solving Instruction?
A Model Preservice Teacher Training Program: Training Teachers to Teach with the Brain’s Natural Way of Learning
Candidate Selection Process
Program Structure
The Teacher Education Classroom as a Laboratory
Student Teaching
A More Effective Approach to the Preservice Education of Teachers
The On-going Professional Development of Teachers
If the Resources Were Available, What Would a Model Professional- Development Program Look Like?
Lesson Study: Another Professional Development Strategy
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