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The Top Brain Book Collection for Educators and Learners

The pow­er­ful Nation­al Asso­ci­a­tion for the Accred­i­ta­tion of Teacher Edu­ca­tion (NCATE) has now issued a report that encour­ages pre-ser­vice and grad­u­ate teacher edu­ca­tion pro­grams to incor­po­rate cog­ni­tive neu­ro­science dis­cov­er­ies about child and ado­les­cent devel­op­ment into their cur­ric­u­la.  This link to a Wash­ing­ton Post arti­cle on this devel­op­ment will also get you to the NCATE report.

The next obvi­ous step would turn encour­age­ment into curricular/accreditation require­ments. That incor­po­ra­tion of Edu­ca­tion­al Neu­ro­science dis­cov­er­ies into edu­ca­tion­al pol­i­cy and prac­tice will shape 21st cen­tu­ry teacher edu­ca­tion and K-12 edu­ca­tion in ways that are anal­o­gous to what folks such as John Dewey, B.F. Skin­ner, and Jean Piaget did to shape 20th cen­tu­ry edu­ca­tion.

I would argue that this cur­rent devel­op­ment isn’t over­due, but rather that it rec­og­nizes that Edu­ca­tion­al Neu­ro­science has now legit­i­mate­ly moved beyond spec­u­la­tion into a suf­fi­cient lev­el of cred­i­ble knowl­edge about what should and shouldn’t occur in K-12 class­rooms. The research and dis­sem­i­na­tion activ­i­ty of many cog­ni­tive neu­ro­sci­en­tists and vision­ary edu­ca­tors laid the ground­work for this impor­tant val­i­dat­ing devel­op­ment dur­ing the last three decades.

At a very per­son­al lev­el, my final two books in a long career iden­ti­fy and explore the dis­cov­er­ies that the NCATE accred­it­ed pro­grams will incor­po­rate — The Ado­les­cent Brain: Reach­ing for Auton­o­my (2007, Cor­win Press) and A Child’s Brain: The Need for Nur­ture (2010, Cor­win Press).  Many oth­er recent books by col­leagues sim­i­lar­ly  present the kinds of cur­rent cred­i­ble cog­ni­tive neu­ro­science infor­ma­tion that teacher edu­ca­tion fac­ul­ties, K-12 edu­ca­tors, and informed cit­i­zens will need.

I would espe­cial­ly rec­om­mend the fol­low­ing two dozen edu­ca­tion­al­ly sig­nif­i­cant recent books for gen­er­al read­ers.  Most were writ­ten by the cog­ni­tive neu­ro­sci­en­tists who did the research that the books describe and inter­pret.

The first three books list­ed below are of spe­cial sig­nif­i­cance to both edu­ca­tors and gen­er­al read­ers:

Sousa, D. (edi­tor) (2010) Mind, brain, and edu­ca­tion: Neu­ro­science impli­ca­tions for the class­room. Bloom­ing­ton Indi­ana: Solu­tion Tree.
Click Here to learn more and order.

Dehaene, S. (2009)  Read­ing in the brain: The sci­ence and evo­lu­tion of a human inven­tion. New York: Pen­guin.

Click Here to learn more and order.

Pos­ner, M. and Roth­bart, M.  (2007)  Edu­cat­ing the Human Brain. Wash­ing­ton DC: Amer­i­can Psy­cho­log­i­cal Asso­ci­a­tion.
Click Here to learn more and order.

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The eight books below focus prin­ci­pal­ly on edu­ca­tion­al issues:

Caine, R. and G., McClin­tic, C., and Klimek K. (2005) 12 brain/mind learn­ing prin­ci­ples in action.  Thou­sand Oaks Ca: Cor­win Press.
Click Here to learn more and order.

Jensen, E. (2006) Enrich­ing the brain: How to max­i­mize every learner’s poten­tial. San Fran­cis­co CA: Jossey-Bass.
Click Here to learn more and order.

Kohn, A.  (2005)  Uncon­di­tion­al par­ent­ing: Mov­ing from rewards and pun­ish­ments to love and rea­son.  New York: Atria.
Click Here to learn more and order.

Ratey, J. with Hager­man, E.  (2008)  Spark: The Rev­o­lu­tion­ary New Sci­ence of Exer­cise and the Brain.  New York: Lit­tle Brown.
Click Here to learn more and order.

Small, G. and Vor­gan, G.  (2008).  iBrain: Sur­viv­ing the tech­no­log­i­cal alter­ation of the human mind. New York: Harp­er Collins.
Click Here to learn more and order.

Sousa, D.  (2005)  How the brain learns (3rd edi­tion).  Thou­sand Oaks CA: Cor­win Press.
Click Here to learn more and order.

Stamm, J.  (2007)  Bright from the start: The sim­ple, sci­ence-backed way to nur­ture your child’s devel­op­ing mind from birth to three.  New York: Gotham.
Click Here to learn more and order.

Wolf, P. (2010) Brain mat­ters: Trans­lat­ing research into class­room prac­tice.  Alexan­dria VA. Asso­ci­a­tion for Super­vi­sion and Cur­ricu­lum Devel­op­ment.
Click Here to learn more and order.


The thir­teen books below focus prin­ci­pal­ly on brain/mind research and issues of gen­er­al inter­est:

Andreasen, N.  (2005) The cre­at­ing brain: The neu­ro­science of genius.  New York: Dana Press.
Click Here to learn more and order.

Boyd, B.  (2009)  On the ori­gin of sto­ries: Evo­lu­tion, cog­ni­tion, and fic­tion.  Cam­bridge, Mass­a­chu­setts: Belknap/Harvard Press.
Click Here to learn more and order.

Dama­sio, A.  (2003) Look­ing for Spin­oza: Joy, sor­row, and the feel­ing brain. New York: Har­cocurt Brace.
Click Here to learn more and order.

Gold­berg, E.  (2005) The Para­dox of Wis­dom: How Your Mind Can Grow Stronger as Your Brain Grows Old­er. New York: Gotham Books.
Click Here to learn more and order.

Gole­man, D.  (2006) Social intel­li­gence: The new sci­ence of human rela­tion­ships.  New York: Ban­tam.
Click Here to learn more and order.

Gop­nik, A. (2010) The Philo­soph­i­cal Baby: What Children’s Minds Tell Us About Truth, Love, and the Mean­ing of Life.  Pic­a­dor.
Click Here to learn more and order.

Hawkins, J. and Blakeslee, S.  (2004) On intel­li­gence: How a new under­stand­ing of the brain will lead to the cre­ation of tru­ly intel­li­gent machines.  New York: Hen­ry Holt.
Click Here to learn more and order.

Iacoboni, M.  (2008)  Mir­ror­ing peo­ple.  The new sci­ence of how we con­nect with oth­ers. New York: Far­rar, Strauss, and Giroux.
Click Here to learn more and order.

John­son, S.  (2005) Every­thing bad is good for you: How today’s pop­u­lar cul­ture is actu­al­ly mak­ing us smarter.  New York: River­head Books.
Click Here to learn more and order.

Kagan, J., Her­schkowitz, N. and E.  (2005) A young mind in a grow­ing brain. Mah­wah, NJ: Lawrence Erl­baum Asso­ciates.
Click Here to learn more and order.

Lev­itin, D. (2006).  This is your brain on music: The sci­ence of an obses­sion.  New York: Dut­ton.
Click Here to learn more and order.

Mar­cus, G. (2004)  The birth of the mind: How a tiny num­ber of genes cre­ates the com­plex­i­ties of human thought. New York: Basic Books.
Click Here to learn more and order.

Pinker, S.  (2007) The stuff of thought: Lan­guage as a win­dow into human nature.  New York: Viking.
Click Here to learn more and order.


Dr. Robert Syl­wester is an Emer­i­tus Pro­fes­sor of Edu­ca­tion at the Uni­ver­sity of Ore­gon, the author of mul­ti­ple books such as The Ado­les­cent Brain: Reach­ing for Auton­omy (Cor­win Press, 2007) and A Child’s Brain: The Need for Nur­ture (2010, Cor­win Press) and many jour­nal arti­cles, and mem­ber of Sharp­Brains Sci­en­tific Advi­sory Board.

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