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Programming the Brain: Educational Neuroscience Perspective: Pedagogical Practices and Study Skills for Enhanced Learning and Metacognition Paperback – February 7, 2017
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The Amazon Book Review
Author interviews, book reviews, editors picks, and more. Read it now
"Dr. Watagodakumbara is passionate about his subject matter, couching it at times in language akin to a personal mission. The overall result is a statement of innovative, potentially groundbreaking theories that are both logical and valuable. A comprehensive work of scholarship, Programming the Brain should be of considerable interest to open-minded, future-thinking learners and educators." Self-Publishing Review, ★★★★
"In this ambitious manuscript, you conduct a thorough examination of the process of learning, in a context of cognition and metacognition, through the lens of neuroscience and neuroplasticity. The book reads like an advanced college-level textbook or a doctoral thesis and is recommended for those with a working knowledge of neurobiology and a background in pedagogical techniques. Certainly no one can fault you for lack of thoroughness; you approach the subject from multiple angles and include exhaustive research from sources dating back as far as 1890. The book does justice to its thesis."
"The manuscript has a very scholarly tone, and it maintains this tone consistently. Your goal is the conveyance of information, and you do so efficiently and effectively. The information is very densely packed, and the factual material comes fast and steadily."
"Your documentation of sources was meticulous, and with more than two hundred references in your bibliography, no one can say you didn't do your homework."
"You have quite an achievement here, particularly because you're coming at neuroscience from a tangential discipline. You make many good points and offer readers a great deal to think about when it comes to thinking."
"Good luck in your revision, and I wish you all the best for this manuscript and future books."
"I was intrigued by Dr. Chandana Watagodakumbura's suggestions in Programming the Brain. The book itself is excellently laid out, opening with an explanation of the structure of the human brain and how those structures may relate to learning. Anyone without a background in neuroscience will want to take this part of the book slowly, as the author gives very technical descriptions that might be lost on someone who is only casually interested in the subject. Pop science this is not. However, with some patience and a handy reference like Wikipedia, even a layperson can get a great deal out of the first section.The real meat of the book comes in the latter section, when the author explains how this knowledge would be best applied. This is probably the section that will be of most interest to people picking up the book, whether they are educators looking for another way to teach or simply someone, like me, who is interested in theories of education. Overall, his reasoning is sound, though he relies very heavily on Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs, which, while that is a strong basis that the author builds on skillfully, is not something that everyone agrees with." "In short, while this book is one laypeople may struggle somewhat to get through, I think it may prove to be anywhere from informative to invaluable to educators."
Watagodakumbura (Educational Neuroscience/Central Queensland University; Education from a Deeper and Multidisciplinary Perspective, 2013) argues that advances in education haven't kept pace with advances in neuroscience.
The author builds on the subject of his first book by taking the latest research on neurology and learning and extending it a bold step further--to teaching. He opens with the notion that all human brains are unique and malleable, to the extent that every person has his or her own unique way of learning, and that we continue to learn new things throughout our lives. Education, he argues, works counter to such neurological individuality by forcing students to conform to rigid teaching and testing structures, which may turn off even the most gifted students. Part I sets the stage for his thesis with a meticulously detailed primer on how brain anatomy relates to cognition and learning. Part II surveys modern educational techniques through the lens of neuroscience. These sections offer academic rigor and complex sentence structures that may confuse some readers who lack a formal science background. Yet, by the end of Part II, the author's prose become clearer as he makes an impassioned plea for the acceptance of neurodiversity in education. From there, Part III brings to bear the latest neuroscience research on existing educational practices. Teachers who are interested in deepening their knowledge of alternative educational methods may therefore benefit from skimming the first two parts and reading the third more carefully. Overall, though, Watagodakumbura makes a convincing case that everyone is wired differently for learning, and children who are taught in ways that allow for this fact will blossom intellectually. The book raises intriguing questions about what it truly means to be different in an educational system that demands conformity.
A sometimes-difficult but thoroughly researched work that offers a fresh angle on improving education.
"The brain is considered by many to be the most amazing organ within the human body. It controls both voluntary and involuntary functions. It also allows people to obtain, process, and use knowledge about various topics with which is it presented. In the book Programming the Brain: Educational Neuroscience Perspective - Pedagogical Practices and Study Skills for Enhanced Learning and Metacognition, by Chandana Watagodakumbura, the topic of both the physical make-up of the brain, as well how it obtains, process, uses, and retains information, are discussed. Geared toward an audience of educators, Programming the Brain presents how different parts of the brain function, how information is learned, retained, and used and how the two work together to accomplish this. Studies and theories, such as Bloom's Taxonomy, studies by Karl Jung and others, are also added into this book to explain why the author's theories and research have come to the conclusion of how to best teach information so that it is both understandable and retainable."
"Programming the Brain is definitely a book that is geared toward an academic audience. The layout, referral to research, and text present this book as one that would be used in a pre- or post-graduate college course or for continuing education classes and/or workshops for teachers. A lot of information and research is laid out in this book with references dating back to the 1950s through the 2010s. While this book contains a lot of information, as well as suggestions for how to best utilize the parts of the brain, along with teaching methods to obtain optimal learning and recall, the span of sources seems too broad"
"Overall, this book earns a solid 3 stars because the information is correct and relevant..."
About the Author
Dr. Chandana Watagodakumbura holds PhD and master’s in engineering obtained from RMIT University Australia in 2000 and 2004 respectively and a bachelor’s in engineering from the University of Peradeniya, Sri Lanka, obtained in 1997. He also holds a graduate certificate in higher education from Monash University, Melbourne, Australia, obtained in 2006.
Currently, Dr Watagodakumbura works as a sessional academic at the Melbourne campus of the Central Queensland University. Previously, he has worked as an academic at RMIT University, Monash University, University of Northern Virginia (Cyprus campus), and University of Peradeniya. He has been involved in conducting close to sixty units in higher education in the areas of computer science/engineering, information systems, management and education during a period of close to twenty years in academia. These courses were conducted both at undergraduate and postgraduate levels. For over dozen of these units, he prepared complete curricula and teaching-learning material.
Dr Watagodakumbura has previously authored a book titled “Education from a Deeper and Multidisciplinary Perspective – For a Sustainable Development of the Neurodiverse Society – A Futuristic View.”
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