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innerdrive reviews

The ‘BrainCanDo’ Handbook of Teaching and Learning

Overall
Usability
Usefulness
Financial cost
Evidence base
The ‘BrainCanDo’ Handbook of Teaching and Learning

What is the book about?

Collaboratively written by researchers and teachers, The ‘BrainCanDo’ Handbook of Teaching and Learning breaks down a wealth of academic research of popular educational psychology and neuroscience topics such as working memory, motivation, mindset and sleep.

It provides educators with a greater theoretical understanding of learning, so they can practically apply these findings to their classroom.

Why read this book?

This book provides a comprehensive, holistic overview of current research into learning so educators can take an evidence-informed approach to learning.

Not only does it provide a review of the latest research, but it provides readers with good contextual information about the current struggles with informing teaching practices. Specifically, the authors spend time discussing the negative implications of scientism and neuromyths on educators’ understanding of learning. This book is perfect for those who have little time for deep-diving into research and want to know even more about what research-informed teaching looks like.

Who is this book for?

This book will help any educator, aspiring educator or anyone interested in the developing brain who wants to better understand what the research actually says — and most importantly, how it applies to the classroom.

The book primarily focuses on research targeted at adolescent students rather than primary school children or those in higher education, but they can still benefit greatly from this book.

Evidence base

The ‘BrainCanDo’ Handbook of Teaching and Learning is incredibly rooted in evidence and might be one of the most research-informed books we have ever come across.

The book contains research conducted by BrainCanDo – a charitable organisation that focuses on research into educational psychology and neuroscience. The aim of the company is to collaboratively conduct research with university experts and teachers so the findings can be effectively applied to the classroom. Research has been conducted in collaborating with universities such as Oxford, University College London, Bristol, and Goldsmiths and Birbeck.

The main focus of the book is to provide insight into key learning factors such as memory, motivation, well-being, sleep and social development — but at the same time, provide educators with practical strategies they can implement into their classrooms to improve teaching and learning. Each section also provides a full reference list of the research covered; in addition to everything you can learn from the book itself, you know exactly where to look for further reading.

Usability

In the introduction section of the book, the authors provide an overview of the chapters and outlines what will be discussed in each one. The book is conveniently divided into five parts and 11 chapters that are each roughly 20 pages long so the reader can decide whether they want to read it cover-to-cover or quickly find a specific section. The five parts of the book are:

  • “Controversies and Applications”
  • “Becoming a Successful Learner”
  • “Motivation”
  • “Well-being”
  • “Subject-specific Research”

The authors also use sub-headings to divide up the text, enabling the reader to clearly read and understand all the information that the book contains.

We especially liked Part 1 of the book, which focuses on the controversies surrounding research into teaching and learning and breaks down the issues of neuromyths and scientism when applying research to the classroom. Not only does it provide educators with good contextual information of educational research but brings it to their attention so they don’t fall into the same trap.

Usefulness

This book is particularly timely as the profession becomes more research-engaged. It clearly outlines the research and the fallibility of such research without being too complex, allowing the reader to bridge the gap between research and practice. We feel that any educator will recognise how practical and useful the book is to furthering understanding about teaching and learning.

Value for money

Given the amount of research it covers and suggestions on the applicability of their findings, it is well worth its £17.99 price tag. It also contains the full references of the research included at the end of each chapter.

Why we love this book

  • Topical – This book synthesises an abundance of current research on topics that educators will be interested in, given the desire within education to bridge the gap between research and the classroom.
  • Universal – We recommend The ‘BrainCanDo’ Handbook of Teaching and Learning for any educator or individual interested in teaching and learning.
  • Applicable – It gives teachers evidence-based strategies they can easily employ in the classroom and provides reviews from teacher leaders and students on the effectiveness of such strategies.
  • Clearly formatted – Information is presented in an array of different formats such as anecdotes, diagrams, bullet points and reviews to keep educators engaged with the concepts discussed in the book.

Final thoughts

The research The ‘BrainCanDo’ Handbook of Teaching and Learning covers is not only comprehensive and thorough, but also encompasses an array of key concepts we feel are essential for learning in an easily digestible format.

Simply put, the contributions from both teachers and researchers have allowed for a holistic overview and objective review of current research in educational neuroscience. From clear, concise research summaries to tips on how to practically weave the findings into the classroom, this book is the ultimate handbook for anyone interested in teaching and learning.

Other books you might like

If you have already read this book or are looking to expand your knowledge of teaching practices further, we recommend reading:

Related resources

If you have limited time and are looking for something a little less comprehensive to read that will still allow you to make positive changes to your classroom, why not try some of our blogs. Here are a few suggestions to get you started:

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