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Unleashing the Potential of the Teenage Brain
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Unleashing the Potential of the Teenage Brain
Ten Powerful Ideas



September 2007 | 168 pages | Corwin
This volume offers the latest in neuroscientific research about the teenage brain and explores what it means for the socio-emotional and intellectual development of teenagers. The book is designed to help teachers create and utilize more effective learning experiences for their adolescent students. Using ten powerful ideas that will help teachers create more effective brain compatible classrooms, the author draws the ideas from what we presently know about the teenage brain and its development, and integrates them with current ideas and theories on intelligence and learning. Each of the 10 powerful ideas includes:

- case studies and numerous examples of teaching strategies and activities designed to show teachers how to translate the theory of the ten ideas into workable classroom practice

- descriptions of the changing and differing roles and expectations for both teachers and students in the brain-compatible classroom

- extensive explanations of the kind of learning environment we need to establish and how teachers ought to go about establishing this desired learning environment.

This is an ideal resource for teachers, teacher educators, and parents of teenagers.


 
Acknowledgments
 
About the Author
 
Part I. Discovering the Teenage Brain
 
1. Introduction: The Creatures in the Classroom! Those Exasperating and Unfathomable Teenagers
How Do We Reach and Teach Those Unpredictable Teenage Brains?

 
Wanted: A New Approach to Teaching Teenagers!

 
Why Educators Need to Learn About the Teenage Brain

 
Brain-Compatible Teaching and the New Science of Learning

 
The Emergence of a New Pedagogical Model

 
 
2. Adolescence and the Teenage Brain--What Is Different and How Do We Know?
Adolescence--Just the Quick Facts!

 
The Teenage Brain--What We Had Believed

 
How Neuroscience and Medical Technology Are Changing Our Ideas About the Teenage Brain

 
The Future of Brain Imaging

 
 
3. Big Changes in the Teenage Brain: What We Have Learned and Are Learning
The Teenage Brain--A Work in Progress

 
From Back to Front: Brain Growth, Neuron Proliferation and Pruning, Myelin Development

 
What It All Means (We Think!)

 
Looking Back at Part I : Reflection and Review

 
 
Part II. Ten Powerful Ideas About the Brain and Learning and What It Means for Teaching the Teenage Brain
 
4. Powerful Idea #1: Constructing New Knowledge
What Powerful Idea #1 Means for Teachers: Helping Teenagers Construct Personal Meaning

 
How It Might Look--A Case Study: "Saving the Old Victoria Street School"

 
Constructivist Teaching Strategies

 
 
5. Powerful Idea #2: Different Ways of Learning
Being Smart-- Human Intelligence

 
Preferred Ways of Learning--Our Learning Styles

 
What Powerful Idea #2 Means for Teachers: Teaching to Each Unique Brain

 
Unleashing the Potential of the Teenage Brain: Six Things You Ought to Do

 
How It Might Look--A Case Study: "Ms. Taylor's Meteorology Unit"

 
 
6. Powerful Idea #3: Making Meaning, Connections, and Patterns
What Powerful Idea #3 Means for Teachers: Developing Pattern Making and Detecting Abilities

 
Some Strategies for You to Consider

 
How It Might Look--A Case Study: "Mrs. Parasiuk's Poetry Class"

 
 
7. Powerful Idea #4: Whole-Brain Learning
Left, Right, or Both Brains?

 
What Powerful Idea #4 Means for Teachers: Effective Ways to Make Your Classroom Teaching Whole Brain

 
How It Might Look--A Case Study: "Whole-Brain Assessment in Mr. Amos' Horticulture Class"

 
 
8. Powerful Idea #5: Multiple Memory Pathways
Different Kinds of Memory--Declarative Versus Procedural

 
Learning and Memory

 
What Powerful Idea #5 Means for Teachers: Using Multiple Memory Pathways

 
How It Might Look--A Case Study: "Mrs. Singh's Musical Science"

 
 
9. Powerful Idea #6: Physical Activity and Movement
Exercise For the Brain

 
What Powerful Idea #6 Means for Teachers: Utilizing Physical Activity to Enhance Learning

 
How It Might Look--A Case Study: "Kinesthetic Learning in High School Biology"

 
 
10. Powerful Idea #7: Memory, Learning, and Emotion
Too Much or Too Little?

 
The Impact of High Stress and Threat

 
Brain Attention and Focus

 
Motivation and Engagement

 
What Powerful Idea #7 Means for Teachers: Managing the Emotional Environment of the Classroom

 
How It Might Look--A Case Study: "The Affirmative Mr. Hawkes"

 
 
11. Powerful Idea #8: Reflection and Self-Assessment
Knowing Oneself

 
Reflection

 
Metacognition

 
What Powerful Idea #8 Means for Teachers: Developing Reflective Learners

 
How It Might Look--A Case Study: "Feedback and Reflection in the Visual Arts Class"

 
 
12. Powerful Idea #9: Social Interaction and Learning
What Powerful Idea #9 Means for Teachers: Providing for Social Interaction and Collaboration

 
How It Might Look--A Case Study: "A Jigsaw Activity in High School Political History"

 
 
13. Powerful Idea #10: Time and Timing
When Is the Best Time?

 
An Optimal Time to Learn

 
An Optimal Time Pattern for Learning

 
The Optimal Times During the Learning Episode

 
The Optimal Times During the Day

 
What Powerful Idea #10 Means for Teachers: Taking Advantage of Time and Timing

 
How It Might Look--A Case Study: "Mrs. Gregory's Lesson Planning"

 
Looking Back at Part II - Reflection and Review

 
 
Part III. The Classroom Environment and What Teachers and Students Should Be Doing
 
14. The Learning Environment
The Physical Environment

 
The Socioemotional Environment

 
The Intellectual Environment

 
 
15. The Brain-Compatible Teacher: Changing and Evolving Roles
A Complex and Challenging Profession!

 
The Teacher as Facilitator, Orchestrator, and Conductor

 
The Teacher as Coach and Model

 
The Teacher as Continuous Learner

 
The Teacher as Monitor, Assessor, and Evaluator

 
The Teacher as a Resource

 
 
16. Teenage Students: Higher Expectations and New Roles
What We Want and Need From Our Teenage Students

 
Looking Back at Part III - Reflection and Review

 
 
Part IV. Now What? So What?-- Reflecting Upon What We Have Learned
 
17. What Does It All Mean?
A Quick Review: The Important Things We Have Learned

 
What Do We Need to Do to Help Teenagers Reach Their Potential?

 
Some Final Thoughts: Opening Doorways to Possibilities

 
Wanted: An Epidemic for an Idea

 
 
Glossary
 
Suggested Readings
 
Bibliography
 
Index

"For people not familiar with current brain research, this book will be quite useful."

David Brock, AP Biology Instructor
Roland Park Country School, Baltimore, MD

“The information is practical, and the examples make the material very easy to apply. The tone of the book is perfect for educators of middle and high school students—there’s just the right amount of humor about the idiosyncrasies of this age group, as well as an appreciation for the rewards of teaching and working with adolescents.”

Kathy Tritz-Rhodes, Teacher
Marcus-Meriden-Cleghorn Schools, IA

"Provides an excellent overview of the current research and knowledge on brain functioning."

Mary Little, Associate Professor
University of Central Florida

"A thought-provoking resource firmly grounded in research and best practice, this handbook of exemplary ideas for teaching the teenage brain is organized in a brain-friendly format and includes a wealth of brain-friendly instructional strategies, from engaging activators to rich opportunities for reflection. A must-read for all educators and an excellent resource for faculty study groups and book clubs."

Susan LeBel, Programs Coordinator
Annapolis Valley Regional School Board, Nova Scotia, Canada

"Any teaching library needs this."

California Bookwatch, January 2008
Midwest Book Review
Key features
  • Offers the latest in neuroscientific research about the teenage brain and explores what it means for the socio-emotional and intellectual development of teenagers.

  • Includes case studies and numerous examples of teaching strategies and activities designed to show teachers how to translate the theory of the ten ideas into workable classroom practice

  • Provides concise descriptions of the changing and differing roles and expectations for both teachers and students in the brain-compatible classroom

  • Provides extensive explanations of the kind of learning environment we need to establish and how teachers ought to go about establishing this desired learning environment.

  • An ideal resource for teachers, teacher educators, and parents of teachers.

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