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The Neuroscience of Learning and Development

About the Book

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Is higher education preparing our students for a world that is increasingly complex and volatile, and in which they will have to contend with uncertainty and ambiguity? Are we addressing the concerns of employers who complain that graduates do not possess the creative, critical thinking, and communication skills needed in the workplace? In the face of the evidence that our colleges and universities are failing to do so, this book harnesses what we have learned from innovations in teaching as well as offering intentional out-of-classroom experiences, along with emerging neuroscience to transform how we deliver and create new knowledge, and indeed transform our students, developing their capacities for adaptive boundary spanning.

Starting from the premise that our current linear, course-based, educational practices are frequently at odds with how our neurological system facilitates learning and personal development, the authors set out an alternative model that emphasizes a holistic approach to education that integrates mindful inquiry practice with self-authorship and the regulation of emotion as the cornerstones of learning, while demonstrating how these align with the latest discoveries in neuroscience. This book challenges us to move away from the degree (made up via a combination of several courses and an accumulation of credit hours) as the commodity of higher education to focusing on the learning and development process itself as our primary commodity that we organize ourselves around.

This book presents the science that informs key learning and development constructs plausibly missing from today’s educational systems. In addition this book presents the science that informs the practice of compassion and peace – the science that explains the very real benefits of intentional movement and mindful inquiry; and demonstrates its application to the classroom, to the co-curriculum, and its implications for administrative leaders who make the decisions that impact student learning and development as well as the environment within which faculty, administrators, and students reside.

Experts in neuroscience, learning and development theory, and health practitioners outline their research and insights into how providing seemingly unintellectual learning and development opportunities for students actually stimulates portions of the brain that are needed in order for students to become adaptive problem-solvers, creators of knowledge, and effective compassionate social collaborators, promoting responsible use of resources to enhance sustainable change. 

The book closes by offering practical ideas for implementation, showing how simple refinements in classroom and out-of-classroom experiences can create foundations for students to develop key skills that will enhance adaptive problem solving, creativity, overall wellbeing, innovation, resilience, compassion, and ultimately world peace 


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