- Paperback: 240 pages
- Publisher: Jossey-Bass; 1 edition (March 15, 2010)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 047059196X
- ISBN-13: 978-0470591963
- Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.7 x 8.9 inches
- Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 184 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #39,864 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Why Don't Students Like School?: A Cognitive Scientist Answers Questions About How the Mind Works and What It Means for the Classroom 1st Edition
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"Corporate trainers, marketers and, not least, parents---anyone who cares about how we learn---should find his book valuable reading." ---The Wall Street Journal --This text refers to the MP3 CD edition.
"Just like his Ask the Cognitive Scientist column, Dan Willingham's book makes fascinating but complicated research from cognitive science accessible to teachers. It is jam packed with ideas that teachers willfind both intellectually rich and useful in their classroom work."
—Randi Weingarten, president, American Federation of Teachers
"This readable, practical book by a distinguished cognitivescientist explains the universal roots of effective teaching and learning. With great wit and authority it practices the principles it preaches. It is the best teachers' guide I know of—a classic that belongs in the book bag of every teacher from preschool to grad school."
—E. D. Hirsch, Jr., university professor emeritus, University of Virginia
"Dan Willingham, rare among cognitive scientists for also being awonderful writer, has produced a book about learning in school that readslike a trip through a wild and thrilling new country. For teachers and parents, even students, there are surprises on every page. Did you know, for instance,that our brains are not really made for thinking?"
—Jay Mathews, education columnist,The Washington Post
"Educators will love this wonderful book—in clear and compelling language, Willingham shows how the most important discoveries from the cognitive revolution can be used to improve teaching and inspire students in the classroom."
—John Gabrieli, Grover Hermann Professor of Health Sciences,Technology and Cognitive Neuroscience, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
"Scientists know so much more than we knew thirty years ago about how children learn. This book offers you the research, and the arguments,that will help you become a more effective teacher."
—Joe Riener, English teacher, Wilson High School, Washington, D.C.
“A must read for those wishing to improve their classroom and those looking for ways to help their students be successful.”
—G.L. Willhite, University of Wisconsin – La Crosse—Highly Recommended
Top customer reviews
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Why Don't Students Like School? gives some great insight for teachers; insight that often seems completely unintuitive until you read through the research based explanations Willingham gives. This title is a little misleading, though, without the very sub-subtitle (one that looks more like credits than a title) A Cognitive Scientist Answers Questions about how the Mind Works and What it Means for the Classroom. It's packed with information that can't be piled into one representative main topic (besides maybe just... education), but one of the most talked about topics was that, regardless of what most education books of the day will tell you, there are two tools of pedagogy that work better than anything else to build competent students with the best ability to take in and truly understand new knowledge: factual learning and practice... (i.e. memorizing dates in history, formulas in math, and practicing until and after we've got it all down). Huh? Isn't that exactly what we've been doing for time immemorial and are now leaving? Yes. What about teaching test taking strategies and research strategies so students can do well on state-mandated tests? Sad answer to this is, it might help them a little on these tests, but it hurts them in their memorization and application skills later in life... It's like cramming; it does work if all you're looking for that information to do is give you a passing grade on a test.
Willingham and others' research has said that in order to build analysis skills that will last (which is virtually all students learn in school today... at least the temporary kind) they need the background information that we are presently too busy to teach them. The education debate between teaching more subject content or more learning strategies has already been won - by learning strategies (it even has a more politically correct name), but this research is saying, wait, we're teaching them so they can have better lives, right? Not just so our school system can have more 4/4's on the End of Grade Test than the next...
I'm not going to say the whole book was great, cover to cover. Probably a third of it was a really good read and the rest was stuff many of us (certainly teachers) have heard or read in school (college and job) many times. By the way, while it's a comparatively small topic in the book, he does give a reason for the main title being what it is. Our brains don't like to learn. We spend a third of our brains' energy consumption on vision alone, and they do whatever they can to stop from using more for thought. They do so by supplementing a lot of that thought with memory, hence the reason why we need to get information into memory. Then, we can use our full amount of working-memory (or thinking) to figure out what we don't know.
I think this came out as less of a review of Willingham's book and more of a pedagogical rant backed up by his research. Either way, I enjoyed it.
Based on scientific research, we can now point out various things that can make teaching and learning less effective. Being aware of that would improve teaching and learning. Understanding more about the way our brain acquires knowledge and cognitive abilities should help teachers, and should help learners to stay away from "new age" methods that have no scientific support.
Written by a professor with a Harvard PhD in cognitive science, this book offers scientific credibility and common sense teaching tips.
Cognitive science and our own personal experiences tell us that the more we know about almost any topic, the easier it is to learn more about it. We have mental hooks to hang ideas on.
Simplifying the instructions, chunking the information into smaller, related parts, designing lessons to come across as stories, asking students to think about the meaning of what they have learned, and yes--repetition-- are just a few of the tools Willingham presents.
Willingham is not promoting rote memorization, he is promoting ways to give students the background information they need to move forward.
There is nothing earth-shakingly new here, but this is a well-written and thoughtful book. Willingham's own teaching experiences give him faith in other educators' knowledge and intuition. He states straight-out: "craft knowledge trumps science." [pg 164]
If, like me, you are a learner-centric educator, you will probably like this book.