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How the Brain Learns


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Table of Contents

About the Author
Preface to the Third Edition
Looking Inside the Brain
Implications for Teaching
Why This Book Can Help Improve Teaching and Learning
1. Basic Brain Facts
Some Exterior Parts of the Brain
Some Interior Parts of the Brain
Neuron Development in Children
The Brain as a Novelty Seeker
What′s Coming Up?
2. How the Brain Processes Information
The Information Processing Model
What′s Coming Up?
3. Memory, Retention, and Learning
How the Memory Forms
Stages and Types of Memory
Learning and Retention
Factors Affecting Retention of Learning
Learning Motor Skills
Daily Biological Rythms Affect Teaching and Learning
Intelligence and Retrieval
What′s Coming Up?
4. The Power of Transfer
What Is Transfer
Teaching for Transfer
Context and Degree of Original Learning
Additional Thoughts About Transfer
What′s Coming Up?
5. Brain Specialization and Learning
Brain Lateralization
Spoken Language Specialization
Learning to Read
What′s Coming Up?
6. The Brain and the Arts
The Arts Are Basic to the Human Experience
Why Teach the Arts
The Sciences Need the Arts
Impact of the Arts on Student Learning and Behavior
The Visual Arts
What′s Coming Up?
7. Thinking Skills and Learning
Characteristics of Human Thinking
The Dimensions of Human Thinking
Revisiting Bloom′s Taxonomy of the Cognitive Domain
8. Putting It All Together: Planning for Today and Tomorrow
Daily Planning
Unit Planning
Maintaining Skills for the Future

About the Author

DR. David A. Sousa is an international consultant in educational neuroscience and author of more than twenty books that suggest ways educators and parents can translate current brain research into strategies for improving learning. A member of the Cognitive Neuroscience Society, he has conducted workshops in hundreds of school districts on brain research, instructional skills, and science education at the preK–12 and university levels. He has made presentations to more than two hundred thousand educators at national conventions of educational organizations and to regional and local school districts across the United States, Canada, Europe, Australia, New Zealand, and Asia.

Dr. Sousa has a bachelor’s degree in chemistry from Bridgewater State University in Massachusetts, a master of arts in teaching degree in science from Harvard University, and a doctorate from Rutgers University. His teaching experience covers all levels. He has taught senior high school science and served as a K–12 director of science, supervisor of instruction, and district superintendent in New Jersey schools. He was an adjunct professor of education at Seton Hall University for ten years and a visiting lecturer at Rutgers University.

Prior to his career in New Jersey, Dr. Sousa taught at the American School of Paris (France) and served for five years as a foreign service officer and science advisor at the US diplomatic missions in Geneva (Switzerland) and Vienna (Austria).

Dr. Sousa has edited science books and published dozens of articles in leading journals on professional development, science education, and educational research. His most popular books for educators include How the Brain Learns, now in its sixth edition; How the Special Needs Brain Learns, second edition; How the Gifted Brain Learns; How the Brain Learns to Read, second edition; How the Brain Influences Behavior; How the ELL Brain Learns; Differentiation and the Brain, second edition (with Carol Tomlinson); and How the Brain Learns Mathematics, second edition, which was selected by the Independent Book Publishers Association as one of the best professional development books. The Leadership Brain suggests ways for educators to lead today’s schools more effectively. Dr. Sousa’s books have been published in French, Spanish, Chinese, Arabic, Korean, Russian, and several other languages. His book Brainwork: The Neuroscience Behind How We Lead Others is written for business and organizational leaders.

Dr. Sousa is past president of the National Staff Development Council (now called Learning Forward). He has received numerous awards from professional associations, school districts, and educational foundations for his commitment to research, staff development, and science education. He received the Distinguished Alumni Award and an honorary doctorate from Bridgewater State University and an honorary doctorate in humane letters from Gratz College in Philadelphia.

Dr. Sousa has been interviewed on the NBC Today show, by other television programs, and by National Public Radio about his work with schools using brain research. He makes his home in south Florida.


"When it comes to brain research, David Sousa is first among peers. His straightforward explanation of the intricacies of the brain, based on solid research, turns theory into practice and allows educators to immediately operationalize concepts into classroom practice."
*Jim Grant, International Educator, Author, Keynote Speaker*

"How the Brain Learns is an excellent text for educators who are looking to take the next step beyond the confines of the traditional model of direct instruction and who wish to ground their professional development in research about the brain. The chapter on ′The Brain and the Arts′ in particular is superb."
*Geoffrey Caine, Executive Director*

"David Sousa will open your mind to the latest brain research that can be applied to classroom practice. This book belongs in the hands of every teacher for practical applications of cutting-edge findings that help us understand how the brain learns best. Sousa is a pioneer in the field of brain-compatible learning, and his ability to synthesize the research is even better in this latest edition of How the Brain Learns."
*Marilee Sprenger, Professional Development Consultant*

"A wonderful and thorough compendium of how our brain learns. Packed with both scientific and practical information."
*Eric Jensen, Speaker, Author, Trainer and Consultant*

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