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Learning & the Brain: Resources for Educators

As promised in my pre­vi­ous post (10 Brain Train­ing Tips To Teach and Learn), here are some of the resources that inform my under­stand­ing of the brain: books, con­fer­ences, and websites.


There are a mul­ti­tude of books about the brain. For edu­ca­tors, the best of these are books that demys­tify the lan­guage of neu­ro­science while pro­vid­ing infor­ma­tion applic­a­ble to the teaching/learning process.

Among the more pro­lific or well-known authors of this type include Jeb Schenck, Robert Syl­wester, Bar­bara Givens, Robert Marzano, Mar­ilee Sprenger, and Eric Jensen.

I have found books by Sprenger and Jensen to be immensely help­ful. Both write about the brain in under­stand­able terms, pro­vide prac­ti­cal sug­ges­tions, dis­cuss sen­si­ble ideas, and include innu­mer­able ref­er­ences to sup­port­ive research. Three of my most ref­er­enced books by these two are:


A highly stim­u­lat­ing and infor­ma­tive expe­ri­ence is the 3-day Learn­ing & the Brain con­fer­ence, which takes place three times a year. In the fall and spring it is held in Cam­bridge, MA, and in the win­ter it takes place in Cal­i­for­nia. Each con­fer­ence has an over­ar­ch­ing theme, which is then bro­ken down into six strands. In the past these strands have focused on pre-K through col­lege; the April 2008 con­fer­ence ush­ered in addi­tion of an adult brain strand.

The L&B con­fer­ence runs the gamut from renowned neu­ro­sci­en­tists shar­ing their research to prac­ti­tion­ers trans­lat­ing that research into prac­ti­cal appli­ca­tion. There are pre– and post-conference work­shops, and plenty of oppor­tu­nity to meet and talk with all pre­sen­ters, as well as con­fer­ence atten­dees. I have attended three times in four years, antic­i­pate attend­ing both Cam­bridge con­fer­ences this com­ing school year, and hope one day to attend the Cal­i­for­nia con­fer­ence just for the fun of it!


Web­sites pro­vide infor­ma­tion in a vari­ety of modal­i­ties. Many of these sites can be used with stu­dents, who enjoy learn­ing about their brains, and hence, about themselves.



Move­ment and Exercise


The Secret Life of the Brain: The Adult Brain video of Emo­tions in the brain
Neu­ro­science for Kids  Auto­nomic Ner­vous Sys­tem
LeDoux Lab, New York Uni­ver­sity Emo­tion, Mem­ory, and the Brain
OshKosh Area School Dis­trict: Learn­ing is Heav­ily Influ­enced by Brain Chemistry

I hope you find these resources use­ful. The next arti­cle in the series will cover some Help­ful Facts Teach­ers Should Know About Their Own Brains…so stay tuned.

Laurie BartelsLau­rie Bar­tels writes the Neu­rons Fir­ing blog to cre­ate for her­self the “the grad­u­ate course I’d love to take if it existed as a pro­gram”. She is the K-8 Com­puter Coor­di­na­tor and Tech­nol­ogy Train­ing Coor­di­na­tor at Rye Coun­try Day School in Rye, New York. She is also the orga­nizer of Dig­i­tal Wave annual sum­mer pro­fes­sional devel­op­ment, and a fre­quent attendee of Learn­ing & The Brain conferences.

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