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Why The Brain Matters

Why The Brain Matters
A Teacher Explores Neuroscience

February 2019 | 216 pages | SAGE Publications Ltd
Educational neuroscience is one of the most hotly debated areas of research and is often misrepresented with grand claims for what it means for teaching and learning. Is each side of the brain responsible for different types of mental activity? Can listening to Mozart improve long-term brain function? Can neuroscience help with reading, or student motivation? In this book, teacher, education consultant and researcher Jon Tibke fact-checks prevailing 'neuromyths' by shining a light on what scientific research is truly relevant for the classroom and exploring the current limits of our understanding. Evidence-informed and complemented by thought-provoking practical tasks, this book will challenge readers to think critically about the human body's most complex organ.
Chapter 1: Why do you need to know anything about the brain?
Chapter 2: What should you know about the brain?
Chapter 3: What your pupils should know about their brains
Chapter 4: The neuromyths
Chapter 5: How to keep up with reliable and accurate information
Chapter 6: The brain and the pre-school, primary and secondary school years
Chapter 7: How can schools become involved in and influence research?
Chapter 8: Famous brains in education: Temple Grandin and Barbara Arrowsmith-Young
Chapter 9: Skills, learning needs and the brain
Chapter 10: What lies ahead?

'Many books based on arcane PhD research read like books based on arcane PhD research. Tibke's is a delightful exception. Whilst its roots are indeed steeped in a solid evidence-base, and he certainly doesn't sidestep the crucial debates, it is a beautifully-written and accessible book - respectful of the field's technical complexities and terminology yet jargon-free in its elucidation, ambitious in its scope yet modest in its claims, simultaneously coolly detached and warmly empathetic, unashamedly on the side of the hard-pressed teacher yet wisely non-ideological and disinterested (in the best and traditional sense of the word). In short, this is a state-of-an-evolving-art summary of a ferociously complex and still immature subject - the brain and its implications for educators. Written by a true educator, certain chapters in particular (eg chapter 4 on the neuromyths) should be required reading for all educational policy-makers and teachers.'

Dr Barry Hymer
Emeritus Professor of Psychology in Education
University of Cumbria

'At a time when teachers are being encouraged to seek simple answers from out-of-date cognitive psychology, or encouraged to jump on the latest bandwagon by an ever-growing number of snake-oil salespeople, it is deeply refreshing to read a book that takes a critical but positive stance on the relationship between neuroscience and education. Jon Tibke’s book offers just such a well-informed and accessibly-written account of what we know, what we don’t know, and what it all means for teachers.

From imaging to neuroplasticity to smart drugs to memory to genetics, Jon Tibke offers concise discussions of key issues in neuroscience that are relevant – and of interest – to teachers as well as debunking pervasive neuro-myths. The glossaries at the end of each chapter are themselves extremely useful.

The book also make a great contribution to teachers’ research literacy and would make a valuable contribution to professional development libraries.'



Viv Ellis
Professor of Educational Leadership and Teacher Development, King’s College London; Honorary Research Professor, Teachers College, Columbia University

An accessible text which explains neuroscience clearly and discusses its relevance in the classroom. The research included is up to date and explained in an easy-to-read manner.

Mrs Suzi Smale
Psychology, Petroc College
February 11, 2019

A helpful insight into brain development and cognitive functioning regarding learning.

Ms Kerrie Robertson
Health and Social Care, Yeovil College
February 11, 2019

Interesting and really easy to read with the way the author has written the book.

Mrs Dawn Burnham
Early Years, Farnborough College of Technology
December 19, 2018

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Chapter 1: Why do you need to know anything about the brain?

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ISBN: 9781473992917
ISBN: 9781473992900