Publication Date: May 19, 2013
As the Common Core State Standards aim to align educational outcomes with college and work expectations in the 21st century, the goal of teaching expands from a basic transmission of facts to the development of cognitive skills that equip students to achieve more of their unique potential. This seminal book focuses on five essential and interrelated concepts from mind, brain, and education research that should underlie key teaching decisions:
1) neuroplasticity, understanding that the structure and function of the brain change in response to learning.
2) potential, the capacity for all students to make learning gains.
3) malleable intelligence, which stands in opposition to traditional views of fixed intellect.
4) the Body-Brain System, the role of movement, physical fitness, healthy nutrition, and positive emotions in facilitating learning.
5) metacognition, explicit instruction on the use of cognitive strategies to guide students to “think about their thinking” with the aim of improving learning.
To support classroom implementation, the authors offer a wealth of vignettes, examples, teaching strategies, reflective questions, and connections between current research on how people learn and classroom practice. The text concludes by unmasking myths and misconceptions that may obscure these core concepts and promoting active participation in formal and informal professional learning communities to hone teaching practice throughout one’s career.
Donna Wilson is lead developer of graduate programs with majors in brain-based teaching with the Abraham S. Fischler School of Education at Nova Southeastern University. Marcus Conyers is cofounder of the Center for Innovative Education and Prevention.
"When it comes to the research based practices that have the biggest impact on students, this book serves as a powerful primer. Novices will be able to weed out other kinds of practices, many obsolete, which don’t have research support; experienced teachers will be able to review their own instructional repertoire, clean out the closet, as it were, and add new insights to their instructional wardrobes. Principals and professional developers will want this book in their reference libraries and parents will find it a solid source for helping their own children learn more effectively."
-- P21 Blogazine: The Partnership for 21st Century Skills
"This text is well-written and researched. I would recommend it to any professor, teacher, or administrator trying to improve instruction."
"Wilson and Conyers are experienced educators willing to tackle complex pedagogical concepts."
-- Teaching Theology and Religion
"The title promises ideas for effective teaching, and the book delivers on this promise in clear, compelling, and believable prose. This is a book for educators, for policy makers, for parents, and even for presidents."
—From the Foreword by Robert Calfee, professor emeritus, Stanford University
“The text, from my perspective, is universal and a must-read at every level for the 21st-century educator. Every school of education should make it mandatory reading and Deans should hop on-board and make it a required roundtable text for their faculties.”
—Douglas Stewart, O’More College
“Five Big Ideas is an interdisciplinary book like no other currently in publication. Wilson and Conyers innovatively combine theory and research on learning, intelligence, brain anatomy and processes, sociocultural contexts, and teaching. The bridge to practice is articulated clearly, setting the stage for a new paradigm in teacher education and how we consider learning.”
—Deborah Schussler, Villanova University
"This is one of the best books on neuroscience and education. Given the new core standards, topics in the book are just what teachers need.”
—Debby Zambo, Arizona State University
2013 The U.K. Times Higher Education Suggested Reading List