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Igniting Student Potential
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Igniting Student Potential
Teaching With the Brain's Natural Learning Process



December 2006 | 232 pages | Corwin
''Handle With Care' should be on the front cover so that the eager teacher uses the book as an inspirational resource'

Roy Bentley, Professor Emeritus, University of British Columbia

'A wonderful guidebook for people moving toward constructivism and for many who are already there'

Geoffrey Caine, Director, Caine Learning

'Fosters a refreshing educational discourse of possibility and offers some very useful classroom strategies that work with today's youth'

Peter P. Grimmett, Director, Institute for Studies in Teacher Education, Simon Fraser University

Kindle students' excitement for learning with transformative, field-tested strategies and lessons!

Students are natural thinkers and pattern-seekers who are born to learn. Tapping into their innate abilities is the key to engaging students in their own learning. This innovative guide helps teachers maximize student engagement and achievement by combining brain research, classroom applications, and teaching skills based on the Natural Human Learning Process (NHLP).

Ideal for preservice and inservice teacher training and professional development, this superb resource covers:

- Working with diverse learners from PreK through high school and beyond

- Curriculum applications and sample lessons across content areas, teaching methods, and learning styles

- Research and theory, instructional planning and strategies, assessment, teaching for transfer, and more.


 
Acknowledgments
 
About the Authors
 
Part I: Research and Theory
 
1. Why This book? Why Now?
The Moral of the Maginot Line

 
Are Our Educational “Guns” Facing in the Wrong Direction?

 
A Bloated Curriculum

 
A Testing Obsession

 
Cultivating the Latent Ability of Every Student

 
Life-Altering Teachers

 
The Classroom as a Community

 
Understanding Is a Key to Hope

 
A Playful Classroom

 
References

 
 
2. How Learning Happens: The Natural Human Learning Process
Students Know How to Learn; They Are Natural Learners

 
Trying to Find the Way

 
Research on the Natural Human Learning Process (NHLP)

 
Using the Missing Link in Math Education

 
If All Students Learn the Same Way, Why Are Students’ Fates Different?

 
A Person’s Fate: Nature or Nuture?

 
Helping Students See Their Potential: Students’ Self-Understanding

 
The Benefits of the NHLP and Metacognitive Knowledge

 
All Students Have an Innate Potential and Motivation to Learn

 
The NHLP Pedagogy

 
Notes

 
References

 
 
3. How the Brain Learns: Research and Application
The Seven Magic Words

 
Metacognition: Basic Facts about How the Brain Learns that Everyone Should Know

 
Motivation

 
Creativity

 
Emotions and the Brain: Fight or Flight

 
Constructivism

 
Reasons Students Are Not Motivated In School

 
Plasticity (Neuroplasticity)

 
No-Fail First-Stage Learning Tasks

 
Examples of No-Fail First-Stage Learning Tasks

 
Things That Can Make It Go Wrong

 
Feeding the Brain

 
Opportunities to Fulfill Their Potential

 
Notes

 
References

 
 
Part II: Classroom Applications
 
4. How Tall Am I? Real-world Math for Early Learners
Transition from Home to School

 
Creating a Brain-Friendly Environment

 
The Nature of Math

 
Math Content for Early Grades

 
Numbers

 
Measurement

 
Geometry

 
Games

 
Multiple Intelligences and Student Potential

 
Exploring Outside the Classroom

 
Evaluation

 
References

 
 
5. Can You Build an Igloo? Understanding the Past with Elementary Learners
Discovering the Past

 
Beginning the Unit

 
Examining a Distant Place

 
Inuit Society Today

 
References

 
 
6. Where Would You Locate Your Castle? Developing Potential in Early Adolescent Learners
What are the Relatively Normal Physical Changes That Occur With the Beginning of Puberty?

 
How Then Would We Teach?

 
Justin’s Teacher

 
Building Relationships – The Key to Early Adolescents

 
Enriched Environments

 
Boredom Reduces the Adolescent Brain

 
The Importance of Play

 
The Opposite of Play is Stress

 
Active Learning and Problem Solving

 
Connected Learning

 
Social Learning

 
The Importance of Emotion

 
Where Would You Put Your Castle? A Potential Igniting Teaching Unit

 
An Acronym to Help Us Remember These Strategies

 
The Early Adolescent Needs a Uniquely Skilled, Compassionate Teacher

 
References

 
 
7. What Keeps Satellites Above Earth? Scientific Investigations for Teenage Learners
Teenage Intellectual Abilities

 
Learning to Use Scientific Methods

 
Coral Atolls

 
Pendulum Clocks

 
Gravity

 
Satellites

 
Relativity

 
References

 
 
Part III: Teacher Skills
 
8. Learning Communities: Falling Empire and Rising Democracy
Learning Communities

 
A Falling Empire

 
Models of Learning Communities

 
Student Feedback

 
The “Ask Them” Method for Assessment and Engaged Learning

 
Using “Ask Them” For Assessment in a Coordinated-Studies Learning

 
Community: “The Fall of Empires”

 
Side Benefits

 
Pitfalls and Trouble-Shooting

 
Making a First Connection

 
Igniting Student Potential

 
Notes

 
References

 
 
9. Assessment Strategies that Promote Learning and Ignite Student Potential
Instructional Sequence: Case 1

 
Instructional Sequence: Case 2

 
What Are the Differences Between Juan’s and Mary’s Approaches to Assessment?

 
Informal Feedback

 
Making Certain We Are Measuring What Our Students Are Learning

 
Test Considerations vs. Projects

 
References

 
Appendix A: Interest Inventory

 
Appendix B: Eporue Map

 
Appendix C: Juan’s Classroom

 
Appendix D: Using Juan’s Interest Inventory to Show Group Attitude Change

 
 
10. Developing Teachers Who Inspire Their Students
What is Different About Instruction That Allows the Brain to Learn in its Most Natural Way?

 
Why Does This Approach Work?

 
How Do Teacher Skills Differ in Problem-Solving Instruction?

 
A Model Preservice Teacher Training Program: Training Teachers to Teach with the Brain’s Natural Way of Learning

 
Candidate Selection Process

 
Program Structure

 
The Teacher Education Classroom as a Laboratory

 
Student Teaching

 
A More Effective Approach to the Preservice Education of Teachers

 
The On-going Professional Development of Teachers

 
If the Resources Were Available, What Would a Model Professional- Development Program Look Like?

 
Lesson Study: Another Professional Development Strategy

 
Educare

 
Conclusion

 
References

 
 
Index

"Well organized. I enjoyed the self-talk about bad neural networks and especially liked the brain research in the chapters pertaining to the development of the student."

Marilee Sprenger, Professional Development Consultant

“`Handle with care’ should be on the front cover so that the eager teacher uses the book as an inspirational resource, gradually remolding practice and introducing change in appropriate increments. This book might have immediate impact if used first as a discussion starter for small groups of teachers or as a study guide for staff development or 'retreats.' The message of the book, however, goes far beyond strategies for teachers. There are issues here for school administrators, for state-mandated goals and programs, and for teacher education programs. The book certainly deserves consideration by teacher education methods instructors. And since parental involvement is absolutely necessary if any constructive change is to take place, imagine how discussion of this text might perk up a PTA meeting!”

Roy Bentley, Professor Emeritus
University of British Columbia

"Fosters a refreshing educational discourse of possibility and offers some very useful classroom strategies that work with today's youth."

Peter P. Grimmett, Director
Institute for studies in Teacher Education, Simon Fraser University

"A wonderful guidebook for people moving toward constructivism and for many who are already there."

Geoffrey Caine, Director
Caine Learning

"Igniting Student Potential should be on every teacher's must-read list. The book not only tells why teachers should get in tune with their students' natural learning process, but explains how to do so. If teachers have intent to construct the best possible learning environment for their students, this book is an essential tool to help them do it."

Dee Tadlock, PhD Director, Research & Development
Read Right Systems, Inc.

"A stimulating read. Confirms so much of what we have been trying to convey to the teachers with whom we work."

Sue Beeson, Director, CSD
Developing Emotionally Literate Schools
Key features
  • Combines brain research, classroom applications, and teaching skills based on the Natural Human Learning Process (NHLP) that all students possess
  • By award-winning author Rita Smilkstein and co-authors Angus Gunn and Robert Richburg, all of them master teachers, teacher educators, and staff developers
  • Focuses on the needs of diverse learners from PreK through high school and beyond, as well as on the professional development needs of instructors and instructional leaders
  • Covers curriculum applications across content areas, teaching methods, and learning styles.
  • Appropriate for in-service teachers as well as for pre-service methods courses
  • Covers research and theory, instructional planning and strategies, sample lessons, assessment, teaching for transfer, teacher professional development, and more. 

Sample Materials & Chapters

Chapter 1


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ISBN: 9781412917063
$37.95

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