Despite all our highly publicized efforts to improve our schools, the United States is still falling behind. We recently ranked 15th in the world in reading, math, and science. Clearly, more needs to be done. In The Learning Brain, Torkel Klingberg urges us to use the insights of neuroscience to improve the education of our children.
The key to improving education lies in understanding how the brain works: that is where learning takes place, after all. The book focuses in particular on "working memory"--our ability to concentrate and to keep relevant information in our head while ignoring distractions (a topic the author covered in The Overflowing Brain). Research shows enormous variation in working memory among children, with some ten-year-olds performing at the level of a fourteen-year old, others at that of a six-year old. More important, children with high working memory have better math and reading skills, while children with poor working memory consistently underperform. Interestingly, teachers tend to perceive children with poor working memory as dreamy or unfocused, not recognizing that these children have a memory problem. But what can we do for these children? For one, we can train working memory. The Learning Brain provides a variety of different techniques and scientific insights that may just teach us how to improve our children's working memory. Klingberg also discusses how stress can impair working memory (skydivers tested just before a jump showed a 30% drop in working memory) and how aerobic exercise can actually modify the brain's nerve cells and improve classroom performance.
Torkel Klingberg is one of the world's leading cognitive neuroscientists, but in this book he wears his erudition lightly, writing with simplicity and good humor as he shows us how to give our children the best chance to learn and grow.
|Publisher:||Oxford University Press|
|Product dimensions:||6.30(w) x 9.40(h) x 2.90(d)|
About the Author
Torkel Klingberg, MD, PhD, is Professor of Cognitive Neuroscience at the Stockholm Brain Institute, Karolinska Institute, Stockholm, Sweden. His work on child development and brain training is at the international front line. Klingberg leads a major Swedish project on child development, lectures regularly at international conferences, is the recipient of several prizes, and a member of the Nobel Assembly. He is the author of The Overflowing Brain: Information Overload and the Limits of Working Memory (OUP).
Table of Contents
1 Being unlucky when you think
- the importance of working memory
Remembering what to concentrate on
Why do students daydream?
The working memories of the Nynäshamn children
ADHD and children with low working memories
2 The growing brain
- how the brain develops and matures
The development of the brain
The brain matures
Genes and the brain
The white matter
3 Through the Pyrenees by motorbike
- the risk-taking teenage brain
Risks and rewards
Neuroscience and the law
4 "Now I am really awake for the first time ever"
- long term memory
Children's long-term memory
The key to the memory
Improving the long-term memory
5 Mathematics, memory and space
Retaining numbers in working memory
The mnemonic map
Mathematics and gender
Dyscalculia - does it exist?
Premature birth and dyscalculia
6 Reading, dyslexia and problematic relationships
Learning to read
Reading areas of the brain and dyslexia
Dyslexia: genetics and displaced cells
Why the problems are interconnected
Dyslexia training and neuroscientific predictions
7 The early environment and brain development
- the importance of stimulation and engaged parents
Stimulating environments and brain development
The role of parents in memory and stress
8 Skydiving and expectations
- what acute and chronic stress do to us
Stress hormones and nerve cells
9 Cognitive training, memory techniques and music
The dream of the perfect memory
The brain of a memory champion
Working memory training
The art of training
Can everything be trained?
10 Body and soul
Jogging and the brain
Intelligence and infections
11 This will change everything
A schoolgirl of the future