Understanding How Young Children Learn: Bringing the Science of Child Development to the Classroom

Understanding How Young Children Learn: Bringing the Science of Child Development to the Classroom

Understanding How Young Children Learn: Bringing the Science of Child Development to the Classroom

Understanding How Young Children Learn: Bringing the Science of Child Development to the Classroom

Synopsis

Human beings are born to learn. During the last few decades, developmental science has exploded with discoveries of how, specifically, learning happens. This provides us with an unprecedented window into children's minds: how and when they begin to think, perceive, understand, and apply knowledge.

Wendy Ostroff builds on this research and shows you how to harness the power of the brain, the most powerful learning machine in the universe. She highlights the processes that inspire or propel learning--play, confidence, self-regulation, movement, mnemonic strategies, metacognition, articulation, and collaboration--and distills the research into a synthesis of the most important takeaway ideas that teachers will need as they design their curriculum and pedagogy. Each chapter has suggested activities for exactly how teachers can put theory into practice in the classroom.

When you understand how your students learn, you will know how to teach them in ways that harness the brain's natural learning systems.

Dr. Wendy L. Ostroff is Associate Professor in the Program for the Advancement of Learning at Curry College.

Excerpt

I have been teaching college courses on child development for many years in tight-knit academic communities, and my former students often keep in touch. Many of them are elementary school teachers in the area or work directly with children in preschools and early childhood education resource centers. Sometimes when they are visiting and telling me about their wonderful and challenging jobs, they become nostalgic for the past. “I loved your child development seminar—it was so interesting!” they say, beaming. And then I start to get excited and ask them what they use from my course in their daily teaching lives. That’s when we inevitably and awkwardly realize that little of the content I had so carefully chosen makes its way into the classroom at all.

I also attend and present at international conferences on child development year after year, where the latest and most revolutionary research on children’s learning is discussed by leading scientists. Each time I promise myself that I am going to bring these findings to the teachers and children who could benefit from it. So I put together giant sets of course readings on child development and learning, plowing through theories and ideas written for researchers in scientific journals. One of the greatest challenges that I always face when choosing what to . . .

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