Book Review: Introduction to BrainSMART® Teaching: Science, Structures and Strategies for Increasing Student Learning
Donna Wilson and Marcus Conyers’ BrainSMART® Model reflects the ever-expanding body of research on the brain and our potential to learn and change throughout our entire life span.
I cannot remember David Sousa’s direct quote, nor its location, but the message struck a chord and it went something like this, “Teachers are not neuroscientists, however they belong to a profession that literally grows and changes brains on a daily basis – that is what happens when we increase student learning!”
Introduction to BrainSMART® Teaching needs to be on every teacher’s reading list if this is what lies at the heart of our profession! The first half of the book was thoroughly engaging – maybe because it reflects my preference for understanding the theory that underpins classroom practice. Donna Wilson and Marcus Conyers explain the BrainSMART® model and the five fundamentals that cognitive and educational research suggest are essential for effective learning in an accessible style.
But if I read this book for a second time, I would definitely adopt a different strategy. Initially, I basically read the book from beginning to end, but now I would suggest taking the time to read the strategies when the authors refer to them within the context of the cognitive and educational research presented – it just makes more sense. Also, do not be tempted to read the strategies without reading the research first! The strategies do require an understanding of the related research, as well as creativity and common sense. Wilson and Conyers encourage teachers to trust their experience and amend and/or enhance the strategies in ways that work best for the content, student age level and specific learning needs.
Being the only profession that changes brains on a daily basis through the learning process, BrainSMART® Teaching is definitely a worthwhile read!
Bern Nicholls Bern Nicholls is an authentic and passionate learner who over the span of her career in education has consistently kept students at the centre of all her thinking and research. Read more articles by Bern Nicholls