Friday, 5 October 2012
Book Review: The Art of Changing the Brain by James Zull
I was recommended this book by Paul Batalden and he was right - it is excellent.
The subtitle is "Enriching the practice of teaching by exploring the biology of the brain". The author manages to integrate biology and neuroscience with educational and learning tactics. For me the book brought to light the process of learning in the sense of how the structure of the brain influences the process.
Zull explains the natural relationship between the structure of the brain and learning, how brain connections change data into knowledge, the way that evolution of the brain is linked to how we are motivated in our learning, and the importance of emotions in the learning process.
While the book covers some breadth of biology at no time was it too complex to follow for someone like me who has limited knowledge of the subject. I think, if you did know more about biology, then you would possibly get more out of the book than me.
Parts I really like was when Zull got practical and linked the discussion to how teacher can then use this knowledge to provide better learning experiences. Having made the links to brain structure it really made sense. I have been testing out some of the ideas and techniques and they do seem to work for me and for those with whom I work.
If you're a fan of PDSA cycles then on reading this you will probably have a major "Aha" moment as you figure out just how they work!