Synopses & Reviews
Forced learning, or "hot-housing", of infants has become increasingly popular in recent years - but does it work? The plasticity of the adolescent and adult brain is becoming gradually acknowledged by brain scientists. What does this say about lifelong learning? In this groundbreaking book, two scientists take stock of what is now known about how and when the brain learns, and consider the implications of this knowledge for educational policy and practice.
Blakemore and Frith break new ground by drawing out the relevance of brain research to education. After reviewing brain development and learning from infancy, through school years to adolescence and adulthood, they explore how the brain can change and learn at any age. They consider naturally learned skills, such as emotional and social competence, and formally taught skills, such as reading, writing and arithmetic. They also take a look at the potential of new ways to improve learning, including physical and mental exercise, sleep and diet. An important part of the book deals with brain research on learning difficulties, such as dyslexia, dyscalculia, attention deficit and autism, and how this research can inform remedial education.
This landmark book will be of interest to students of psychology and education, teachers, psychologists, educational policy-makers, and parents.
"This beautifully written book by two experts is compelling reading for anybody who wants a clear, authoritative account of how our brain learns. It will enthrall the widest possible readership - those people who have no previous knowledge of brain science, and those who have a detailed grasp of how the brain works."
Robert Winston, Imperial College London
"This upbeat, fast paced review of brain research is a must read. It has a large canvass and a big point – when it comes to learning, it’s all about the brain.”
Michael S. Gazzaniga, David T. McLaughlin Distinguished University Professor, Dartmouth College
"This is an exciting, readable and compelling account of how the workings of the brain shape both formal and informal learning."
Kathy Sylva, Professor of Educational Psychology, University of Oxford
"Sarah Blakemore and Uta Frith have written a highly accessible survey of the many links between brain science and education. They do a beautiful job of summarizing many recent and exciting discoveries in neuroscience, brain imaging, and psychology, from sleep to dyslexia, autism or attention deficits. Teaching will always be something of an art – but the teachers who read The Learning Brain will know much more about the science behind it. This book should be read by all educators, students and parents who want to understand how the brain changes during learning, and what can be done to ground educational practices on a sound basis in psychology and neuroscience." Stanislas Dehaene, INSERM Cognitive Neuroimaging Research Unit, Paris
“It [The Learning Brain: Lessons for Education] is rich with facts, yet easily accessible to the general reader. While sending a positive and encouraging message about the relevance of neuroscience to the classroom, its tone is responsible and not exaggerated. The book is packed with details of cutting-edge research, presented in a lively manner with care to avoid excessive detail.
Nature Neuroscience, October 2005
"The material is well presented, and much of it is fascinating in its own right. Anyone interested in the workings of the brain can profit from reading this book."
PsycCRITIQUES, October 2005
"The Learning Brain should become compulsory reading for everyone who is involved in educational practice and policy because it by no means raises unrealistic hopes, or – like some other popular books in this field – give more or less trivial advice about ‘brain-appropriate’ learning. It also helps in the understanding of what might have gone wrong in the brains of learners who, for example, have persistent reading difficulties despite schooling, or who fail to grasp advanced mathematical and scientific concepts."
Trends in Cognitive Science, December 2005
"This is a very readable account of the findings of brain research and will appeal to a wide variety of readers . . . Readers, whether they be members of the general public who have an interest in how the brain works, people working within education or new researchers will be amazed by the findings of brain research and will want to find out more."
Education in the North
This groundbreaking book takes stock of what is now known about how and when the brain learns, and considers the implications of this knowledge for educational policy and practice. The authors break new ground by drawing out the relevance of brain research to education. After reviewing brain development and learning from infancy, through school years to adolescence and adulthood, they explore how the brain can change and learn at any age.
In this groundbreaking book, two leading authorities in the field review what we really know about how and when the brain learns, and consider the implications of this knowledge for educational policy and practice.
- Pioneering book in emerging field from two leading authorities
- Reviews in an accessible style what we know about how and when the brain learns
- Draws out the implications of this knowledge for educational policy and practice
- Covers studies on learning during the whole of development, including adulthood
- Looks at what we can learn from brain research about children with learning difficulties, and how this can inform remedial education
About the Author
is a Research Fellow at the Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience at University College, London. She is engaged in neuroscience research, for which she obtained the 2001 British Psychological Society Award for Outstanding Doctoral Research. She has been seconded to the Houses of Parliament to write a report on Early Years Education for Select Committee for Education. Her involvement in the Public Engagement with Science is demonstrated in her frequent public lectures and scientific consultancy on a major BBC series on the Human Mind.
Uta Frith is Professor of Cognitive Development and Deputy Director of the Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience at University College, London. She has researched developmental disorders for more than 30 years. She is a leading authority on autism and dyslexia and has gained prestigious prizes and honorary doctorates. She is the author of well known books on autism and Asperger syndrome. Her work has led to greater awareness of disorders of cognitive and social development with a basis in the brain.
Table of Contents
2. The Developing Brain.
3. Words and Numbers in Early Childhood.
4. The Mathematical Brain.
5. The Literate Brain.
6. Learning to Read and its Difficulties.
7. Disorders of Social-Emotional Development.
8. The Adolescent Brain.
9. Life Long Learning.
10. Learning and Remembering.
11. Different Ways of Learning.
12. Harnessing the Learning Powers of the Brain.