Why Don't Students Like School?: A Cognitive Scientist Answers Questions About How the Mind Works and What It Means for the Classroom

Overview

Cognitive scientist Dan Willingham presents his easy-to-apply, scientifically based approaches for engaging students in the classroom.

Kids are naturally curious, but when it comes to school it seems like their minds are turned off. Why is it that they can remember the smallest details from their favorite television programs, yet miss the most obvious questions on their history test?

Cognitive scientist Dan Willingham has focused his acclaimed ...

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Overview

Cognitive scientist Dan Willingham presents his easy-to-apply, scientifically based approaches for engaging students in the classroom.

Kids are naturally curious, but when it comes to school it seems like their minds are turned off. Why is it that they can remember the smallest details from their favorite television programs, yet miss the most obvious questions on their history test?

Cognitive scientist Dan Willingham has focused his acclaimed research on the biological and cognitive basis of learning and has a deep understanding of the daily challenges faced by classroom teachers. This book will help teachers improve their practice by explaining how they and their students think and learn—revealing the importance of story, emotion, memory, context, and routine in building knowledge and creating lasting learning experiences.

In this breakthrough book, Willingham has distilled his knowledge of cognitive science into a set of nine principles that are easy to understand and have clear applications for the classroom. Some examples of his surprising findings are:

—"Learning styles" don't exist. The processes by which different children think and learn are more similar than different.

—Intelligence is malleable. Intelligence contributes to school performance and children do differ, but intelligence can be increased through sustained hard work.

—You cannot develop "thinking skills" in the absence of facts. We encourage students to think critically, not just memorize facts. However, thinking skills depend on factual knowledge for their operation.

Why Don't Students Like School is a basic primer for every teacher who wants to know how their brains and their students' brains work and how that knowledge can help them hone their teaching skills.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Corporate trainers, marketers and, not least, parents—-anyone who cares about how we learn—-should find his book valuable reading." —-The Wall Street Journal
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781452654195
  • Publisher: Tantor Media, Inc.
  • Publication date: 9/20/2011
  • Format: MP3 on CD
  • Edition description: MP3 - Unabridged CD
  • Product dimensions: 5.30 (w) x 7.40 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Meet the Author

Daniel T. Willingham is a professor of psychology at the University of Virginia, where he has taught since 1992, conducting research on the applications of cognitive science to K-12 education. He earned his B.A. in psychology from Duke University and his Ph.D. from Harvard University. Daniel writes the popular "Ask the Cognitive Scientist" column for American Educator magazine. Educated at Juilliard and having performed with orchestras internationally, Paul Costanzo has brought the sensitivity and nuance of a classical music background to the world of voice acting for over twenty-five years. He was chosen by New York Times bestselling author Catherine Coulter to record titles in her FBI series, and Audiofile magazine has called his narration "Superb."

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments.

The Author.

Introduction.

CHAPTER 1 Why Don’t Students Like School?

CHAPTER 2 How Can I Teach Students the Skills They Need When Standardized Tests Require Only Facts?

CHAPTER 3 Why Do Students Remember Everything That’s on Television and Forget Everything I Say?

CHAPTER 4 Why Is It So Hard for Students to Understand Abstract Ideas?

CHAPTER 5 Is Drilling Worth It?

CHAPTER 6 What’s the Secret to Getting Students to Think Like Real Scientists, Mathematicians, and Historians?

CHAPTER 7 How Should I Adjust My Teaching for Different Types of Learners?

CHAPTER 8 How Can I Help Slow Learners?

CHAPTER 9 What About My Mind?

Conclusion.

Notes.

Index.

Credit Lines.

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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing all of 8 Customer Reviews
  • Posted February 20, 2010

    Good book, still doesn't answer title question

    Willingham covers the cognitive science of why students may think school is difficult. However, he doesn't ever come right out and answer the question in the title. Maybe he intends for readers to surmise their own answer after reading the book.

    All in all, a valuable text with up-to-date, valid information.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted September 3, 2009

    Worth reading!

    As a 32 year veteran teacher I found this book both informative and innovative. I found the introduction of each chapter giving me the what and why, then the rest of the chapters giving the how to deal with the what and why, in a very useful and understandable manner. So many times in education we get a book that is just the what and why or just the how. Combining both facets into each chapter allows the reader to explore the entire issue and not just bits and pieces.

    I enjoyed the discussion tone the book offered. Sometimes I felt that I could sit and discuss his understandings of how students learn and come up with more useful tools to use in my own classroom. This book is for the teacher who wants a better understanding of how a student learns, techniques to improve that learning and focus on the whole child.

    Mr. Willingham used a variety of examples, not just limiting the "discussion" to one subject area. He provides enough detail to become proficient but not so much that the reader is overwhelmed. I plan on reading this book again so that I can truly grasp the information presented. So much of what he describes as student behavior, is behavior that I have observed in my classroom.

    I would recommend this book for any teacher, new or veteran.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted July 18, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    Not Real Practical

    As a teacher for over forty years, I was eager to see what this book with the enticing title contained. What I found was waaaaaaaaaaaay too much information about brain function and too little practical advice for the classroom. My experience has been that teachers want to know what to do to keep kids focused and learning; we don't need the theories about WHY we should do that. After only a few chapters, I realized that the latter pages of each chapter contained the suggestions for practical applications that I was hoping for. I tried reading those pages first for a few chapters and found that skipping the early theory pages really didn't impede my understanding of the "practical suggestions" at the end of each chapter. Unfortunately for this author, I had also purchased FAIR ISN'T ALWAYS EQUAL by Rich Wormeli and found that book significantly more readable and practical, with suggestions for classroom applications I can use immediately.
    I usually pass on good book to my friends. Unfortunately, the title of this one is more engaging than the contents, so I will be very selective about sharing it.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 3, 2009

    A great text for all educational professionals from Pk. through college.

    Dr. Daniel Willingham has written a concise compendium of tips, strategies and teaching methods for any teacher who wants their students to obtain academic mastery, I must report that such mastery would be locked in memory with meaning as so eloquently expressed by Dr. Willingham throughout his text. His focus on learning background knowledge first before commencing critical thinking was well stated over and over as a constant theme. Dr. Willingham used real life examples of how to develop lessons with what the teacher really wants their students to think about. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this text and highly recommend it for any professional educator. Dr. Mike Borders.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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    Posted December 6, 2009

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    Posted September 6, 2010

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    Posted January 11, 2010

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    Posted March 28, 2010

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