Sunday, September 25, 2011

Reviewing Eric Jensen's Teaching with the Brain in Mind

Eric Jensen is a former teacher and the author of more than two dozen books on learning and the brain. His Teaching with the Brain in Mind was published 13 years ago, but this second edition was revised and updated six years ago. The book is approximately 160 pages not including the glossary, references, and index. It consists of 12 chapters that provide a basic introduction to the anatomy of the brain and how to apply brain research in the classroom.

The basic message of Jensen's book is that we have a much greater ability to affect the learning of students than we realize. Some of the many topics covered in his book include how to prepare children for school, how to motivate students to participate, how to influence emotional states, how to design smarter schools, and how to enhance memory and critical thinking skills.

Teaching with the Brain in Mind was one of four books I was assigned for an Understanding the Learner class that I am taking through Columbia International University. I would not have chosen to read this book had it not been required reading, however, reading the book has definitely made me reflect on how I have instructed students and perhaps what I should have done differently. Today I would attempt to find ways to bring more kinesthetics and music into the classroom. I would also do a better job of inviting guest speakers and challenging the students to learn about and further serve the local community. I will need to promote these kind of activities amongst the teachers I work with. 

My final analysis: I think few would call Jensen's book a gripping read, but it is clear and will provide you some practical insights.