Deep Brain Learning: Pathways to Potential with Challenging Youth

By Sleight, Deborah A. | Journal of Comparative Family Studies, March 1, 2012 | Go to article overview

Deep Brain Learning: Pathways to Potential with Challenging Youth


Sleight, Deborah A., Journal of Comparative Family Studies


Larry K. Brendtro, Martin L. Mitchell and Herman J. McCall. DEEP BRAIN LEARNING: PATHWAYS TO POTENTIAL WITH CHALLENGING YOUTH. Circle of Courage Institute and Starr Commonwealth, Albion, Michigan (2009), 169 pgs.

The three authors of this book are associated with Starr Commonwealth, which provides residential and community-based programs for troubled youth. Founded in 1913 in Albion, Michigan, Starr Commonwealth bases its transformational programs for children on its guiding principle of seeing something good in every child. Dr. Larry K. Brendtro is a licensed psychologist, a former president of Starr Commonwealth and the current president of Circle of Courage Institute. Dr. Martin L. Mitchell is the current president and CEO of Starr Commonwealth and Dr. Herman J. McCall is its executive vice president and chief human resource officer.

According to the authors, the purpose of this book is to "identify powerful universal principles for success with challenging children and youth." The authors compare how western society devalues children with how traditional cultures respect and value them, and offers a guide for changes we might make to help challenging youth grow to their full potential. The book begins with stories describing cultures of discord and cultures of respect toward children. The authors then explain the neuroscience of brain development and instinctive maps for trust, challenge, power and moral development that are how the brain "helps us learn what is most important for survival. …

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