I just attended and made a presentation at the 25th Learning & the Brain conference in San Francisco—USING BRAIN RESEARCH TO RAISE IQ AND ACHIEVEMENT. My presentation was in a section titled How Will New Brain Technologies for Cognition and Memory Change Education, Learning and Aging? I talked about how to maximize the efficiency of neural pathways for reading and writing—a topic I have discussed previously in my blog, and am just about ready to publish in my new book Raising Skilled Readers and Writers. Watch for a release date!
I came away from the conference with some interesting books:
a novel by Mark Haddon.
This is a real charmer of a novel about a bright and quirky boy, trying to solve the murder of a dog, who encounters many of the problems that misfits face in our society. Anyone who has had contact with a child dealing with autism spectrum difficulties will recognize his literal way of thinking and his perplexities as he tries to understand the people around him. You can’t help but love his honesty and earnestness, as he goes about solving his mystery.
Saving Our Children from Nature Deficit Disorder
By Richard Louv
Nature is essential for a child’s healthy physical and emotional development. The author cites a growing body of evidence linking the lack of nature in children’s lives and the rise in obesity, attention disorders and depression. He describes a generation so plugged into electronic diversions that it has lost its connection to the natural world. This topic ties in with research discussed in the conference about “softly fascinating environments”—I’ll summarize it later….
This book is about the largest and most successful school initiatives in social and emotional learning in the country—the Resolving Conflict Creatively Program, now active in more than 350 schools nationwide. Daniel Goleman, author of Emotional Intelligence says, “a model of emotional intelligence…I hope that every teacher and parent reads this and takes this superb advice to heart.”
Intellect is not primarily genetic, but is principally determined by societal influences. Intelligence is not fixed at birth—it is fragile and malleable. This concept has astounding implications for the role of education. Parents and teachers are literally responsible for changing the brains of their charges—either for better or for worse. This book is shocking and inspiring, expanding on the remarkable research of Hart and Risley in their groundbreaking study Meaningful Differences in the Everyday Experience of Young American Children. Both books are a must-read for anyone interested in education.