The Brain-Based Classroom
Accessing Every Child’s Potential Through Educational Neuroscience
The Brain-Based Classroom translates findings from educational neuroscience into a new paradigm of practices suitable for any teacher. The human brain is a site of spectacular capacity for joy, motivation, and personal satisfaction, but how can educators harness its potential to help children reach truly fulfilling goals? Using this innovative collection of brain-centric strategies, teachers can transform their classrooms into deep learning spaces that support their students through self-regulation and mindset shifts. These fresh insights will help teachers resolve classroom management issues, prevent crises and disruptive behaviors, and center social-emotional learning and restorative practices.
Table of Contents
Section One: Breaking Paradigms 1. Neuroscience of Learning 2. Rewards work...Sometimes 3. Teach with "A" instead of "E" 4. Punishments work...Sometimes 5. Brain Breaks Work Every Time 6. Cognitive Models Work Every Time 7. Orchids are Epigenetic Section Two: Rethinking Pedagogy 8. Miller’s (adjusted) Law 9. Hebb’s Rule and Cognitive Rehearsal 10. Plasticity is a Two-sided Neural Coin 11. Purposeful Long-term Potentiation 12. Know your Reticular Activating System 13. Mindset Matters 14. Comfort Zone for Adaptive Expertise Section Three: Conceptual Collisions 15. Intrinsic Motivation in a Gift Box 16. Greenhouse Teachers Too 17. Autonomy loves Choice 18. A Lost Revolution 19. Maslow in an Orchid World 20. What Skinner did Next 21. Teach to Thorndike Affect Epilogue Glossary
Kieran O’Mahony is Founding Principal of the Institute for Connecting Neuroscience with Teaching and Learning, USA, and Founder and Chairman of the Board of Neural Education.
"Out of my seven years of professional development, this is THE most important training for effective classroom teaching that I’ve ever received."
—Patricia Amaro, English Language Arts Teacher at Grandview Middle School, WA
"This neural lens gives me a totally different approach to my way of teaching. Our Hopi students need this way of thinking, and I plan to pass along what I've learned to my administrator and to other educators here in Arizona."
—April Honahnie, K-8 Teacher at Hotevilla-Bacavi Community School, AZ
"Finally, the science behind what works in learning! This is training unlike all other professional learning because it is continuously rooted in the 'why'. This work explains how the brain interacts with environmental and internal stimuli with the overarching goal of supporting each teacher’s understanding of enough neuroscience to shift daily learning."
—Rosa M. Villarreal, Principal of Kent Elementary School, WA
"This is crusader work. Dr. O’Mahony is rowing against the current, but this important book will stand the test of time."
—Terry Bergeson, Washington State Superintendent of Public Instruction (former) and Interim Dean (retired) of the School of Education and Kinesiology at Pacific Lutheran University, USA
"This book will be important for every teacher because knowledge is power. I am shocked and delighted to learn things about the brain that are so valuable in my daily classroom practice, especially in distance learning spaces. Amygdala, hippocampus, and working memory mean so much more to me now. This is the future of human enhancement!"
— Stéphanie Turcotte, Teacher at École Claudette-et-Denis-Tardif, Canada
"Learning about children's thinking from the inside out has given me a new perspective on education as a teacher. I now see students, and my own children, through what is going on inside their minds and their thinking rather than feeling frustrated that they are not doing things exactly the way that I have told them to. Knowing your ‘orchid students’ and teaching with them in mind will yield greater results than driving on without them and then trying to formulate interventions to catch them up."
—Sean Sturgill, Fifth Grade Teacher at Lackamas Elementary, Yelm Community Schools, WA