1st Edition

Transforming Learning Through Tangible Instruction The Case for Thinking With Things

By Sarah Kuhn Copyright 2022
    202 Pages 39 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    202 Pages 39 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    Transforming Learning Through Tangible Instruction offers a transformative, student-centered approach to higher education pedagogy that integrates embodied cognition into classroom practice. Evidence across disciplines makes clear that people learn with their bodies as well as their brains, but no previous book has provided evidence-based guidance for adopting and refining its practice in colleges and universities. Collecting findings from cognitive science, educational neuroscience, learning theories, and beyond, this volume’s unique approach—radical yet practical, effective yet low-cost—will have profound implications for higher education faculty and administrators engaged in teaching and learning. Seven concise chapters explore how physical objects, hands-on making, active construction, and other elements of body and environment can enhance comprehension, memory, and individual and collaborative learning.


    Chapter 1. Unnatural Acts: The problem with what we do now

    Interlude A: The Crocheted Hyperbolic Plane

    Chapter 2. The Embodied Learner: Thinking with the whole self

    Interlude B: Molecular Models

    Chapter 3. Thinking With Things

    Interlude C: Diagrams

    Chapter 4. How Things Shape Our Thinking

    Interlude D: Qualitative Research Software

    Chapter 5. Abstraction Reconsidered

    Interlude E. Designing the Future World

    Chapter 6. Embodiment Revisited

    Interlude F: The Laboratory for Interdisciplinary Design

    Chapter 7. A Vibrant Learning Ecosystem


    Sarah Kuhn is Professor Emerita in the Department of Psychology at the University of Massachusetts Lowell, USA. Before beginning her thirty-year teaching career, she received a PhD in Urban Studies and Planning from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy and Social Psychology from Harvard University. She is the author of numerous articles, including several on aspects of learning with things in interdisciplinary, studio-based, and community settings.

    "Well-crafted . . . the book’s analysis supported by basic research and informed by personal experience of what can and should be achieved in higher education classrooms offers powerful arguments for teachers in any discipline, but especially those devoted to the enhancement of teaching and learning through creativity and innovation."
    —Damian Ruth, Senior Lecturer at Massey University, New Zealand, for Innovations in Education and Teaching International