Why I Love the Third Edition of “12 Brain/Mind Learning Principles in Action: Teach for the Development of Higher-Order Thinking and Executive Function”
I am delighted to be a coauthor of this book. Over the years I have come to love and appreciate the core ideas and related strategies and processes expressed in it. I now feel compelled to share why this book is so important to me personally and professionally and can be so for others who value learning.
The journey I have been on as an educator and a human being has been an adventurous one. My thirst for learning who I am and what I am has been, and continues to this day, both as a personal and professional development. I find both in this edition of the book “12 Brain/Mind Learning Principles in Action: Teach for the Development of Higher-Order Thinking and Executive Function.”
Wait a minute, you might say, this is just another book about being a teacher and some strategies and processes that I can add to my bag of tricks or been there done that might seem your best response. But I disagree and have found as I contributed to the revision of this book that I was learning more and more about my own capacities and potential as well as the capacities and potential of students.
One of the biggest and clearest differences between earlier editions and this is the straight forward statements about what type of teaching is meant with the instructional approaches (IA1, IA2, and IA3). Renate and Geoffrey clearly point out that what is meant by Instructional Approach One (IA1) is Direct Instruction and Instructional Approach Two (IA2) is Project-Based/Problem-Based Learning and Teaching, and Instructional Approach Three (IA3) is The Guided Experience Approach. In so doing, chapter after chapter and principle of learning after principle of learning, opens the possibility of what a teacher can do to improve the learning opportunities for students and themselves.
So let’s take a suggestion from say the learning principle; ”The Search for Meaning Occurs Through Patterning.” For those who are at IA1 – Direct Instruction an opportunity for growth is pointed out on page 170 in this manner:
The most important challenge for traditional teaching is to help students grasp the difference between concrete facts and abstract concept ….. A powerful way to get them (students) thinking is to ask basic questions such as “Can you explain the difference between this and that?” or “In what way is this connected to that?”
How is this different or helping to show growth? How many teachers of direct instruction ask students questions that are not yes or no, right or wrong answers? I have found very few in my experience. To engage the students in sharing how what they are learning is connected or different from something else they have learned opens a whole new way of thinking. It offers both teacher and students the opportunity to explore and problem solve what they are learning about (and isn’t that part of what is needed if we are to engage higher order thinking skills and the executive function?), to grasp the patterns that exist, and to see how what they are learning is connected to more then just another check mark of memorized information.
So can this book help me grow as an educator as well as provide new approaches to how I am in the classroom and how I engage students can only be answered with a resounding yes! Take the time to really look at what this book has to offer and the opportunities that you can take as a teacher to expand your approach to instruction and along the way see how you can grow both professionally and personally. Have fun and enjoy the process.