Outline and Research basis of these courses

Outline and Research basis of these courses

These courses are based on current research in the fields of neuroscience and cognitive science and incorporate the work of a number of educational consultants and neuroscientists who are working to bring the fields of education and neuroscience together, initiating action research to test claims and make further recommendations. The reference list that follows includes papers, books and websites that are either referred to in the presentation or are given as supporting material/further reading in the workbooks. The work on introductory neuroscience –brain structure and function, neurons and their networks, is based on the work of many institutions and scientists. The Society for Neuroscience, in particular the “Brain Facts” primer, has helped to develop a language that is accessible to all participants and to students. Work coming out of John Hopkins University’s Neuro-Education Initiative, the Dana Foundation and the Franklin Institute continue to add to the understanding of brain functioning and its relevance to learning. There are a range of sources that have contributed to the information regarding “brain compatible” conditions and they are not always in agreement.  Sharing the different opinions and the findings of different studies is important to enable open discussion about the relevance for individual classrooms. The growing interest in “Mind, Brain Education” has resulted in the initiation of many studies and programs. Much of this information has been interpreted by educators such as Patricia Wolfe, David Sousa, Eric Jensen, John Medina and John Joseph. The aim of the Active Axons PD is to help educators keep pace with the research and to share with them information coming out of this field that would otherwise require a great deal of individual research. The topic of brain plasticity and its potential to empower students to take greater responsibility for their learning and to motivate them through hope in the future is also sourced from these sites but is strongly supported by the stories and examples given in Norman Doige’s book the Brain That Changes Itself. The research from Scientific Learning and in particular the papers of Martha Burns describe the stages of brain development in terms of plasticity and how educator and student awareness of this information can enhance success in students. The material relating to Concepts, the Four World’s Model, Weighted Elements etc is taken from the work of Focus Education Australia. These models have been developed using the research of John Hattie, John Holt, Randall Clinch, Tony Townsend and others. Active Axons has permission to use this material in presentations. Leading the Learning Brain is an introductory/ overview course with more detail about research and evidence than the other courses. Managing Behaviour, Assessment for Learning and Differentiating Learning courses are all based on the same research and address this research in presentations, but they concentrate delivery on different aspects of the research with each course providing more materials and strategies for that area.


  • Abadzi, Helen (2009), The Mysteries of Memory and Their Implications for the Education Sector, Independent Evaluation Group, Project Performance Assessment Reviews, World Bank August 17 2009
  • Blunden, Sarah www.sleepeducation.net.au South Australia sleep stats and studies
  • Burns, Martha; (2007), Neuroscience and Education, Teacher, September 2007 Importance of motivation for learning, keeping teachers informed of neuroscience discoveries on how to use strategies for particular kids
  • Burns, Martha; (2010), Brainy Teaching, Teacher, April 2010 applying neuroscience to help students to read – neuroscience, imaging, computer based programs
  • Carskadon, Mary (2003) When Worlds Collide, Adolescent need for sleep versus societal demands
  • Doige Norman; (2008) The Brain That Changes Itself history of development of the idea of plasticity in the brain and all the diagnostic and treatment progressions that go with it. Each chapter is a story illustrating a concept/discovery and is well indexed to go back to bits to recheck
  • Fernandez A., Goldberg Dr E. (2009) The Sharp Brains Guide to Brain Fitness, designed to look at the burgeoning brain fitness industry and looks at the theory behind the tools as well as comparing different products for their price, degree of scientific evidence of effectiveness and target groups. Some good interviews with researchers
  • Joseph, John; (2006)  Learning in the Emotional Rooms  – creating an uplifting classroom environment
  • Joseph, J; (2008) Mind Your Brain –A Journey into the Mechanics of Learning, Emotions and Brain Care for Young Minds Teachers’ Planning Book
  • Jensen, Eric (2000) Brain-Based Learning Revised, The Brain Store , easy to find information on each of the aspects being researched with chapter review bits and outlines for each chapter
  • Jensen, Eric (2002) Brain Compatible Strategies , Focus Education Australia
  • Howard-Jones, Paul (2010) Introducing Neuroeducational Research:  Neuroscience, educationand the brain from contexts to practice, Routledge
  • Kandel, Eric (2006) In Search of Memory WH Norton and Co. New York
  • Medina, John; (2009) Brain Rules, US, Pear Press the 12 rules, the stories, the fact that a lot of what is said is really debunking the debunkers and keeping minds open
  • Meltzoff A.N., Kuhl P.A., Movellan J, Sejnowski T; (2009) Foundations for a New Science of Learning, Science,  17 July 2009, vol 325 pgs284 – 288 helpful in relating current views in sections of the scientific community to the idea of brain based education research.
  • “Nine Big Brain Questions”, (2010), New Scientist 3 April, pgs 26 – 331.What are memories made of 2.Will we ever be able to regenerate the brain 3.What are mirror neurons? 4. How many states of consciousness are there? 5 .How powerful is the mind body connection 6. Why are some people smarter than others 7. Whats the link between creativity and mental illness 8. Just how powerful is the subconscious 9.Will we ever create a conscious machine?
  • Society for Neuroscience, Brain Facts : a Primer on the Brain and Nervous System, The society provides information about neuroscience to school teachers and encourages the scientists in its membership to speak to young people about the brain and nervous system.
  • Shonkoff, Jack P, Richmond, Julius B (2008) The Science of Healthy Development: Closing the Gap Between What We Know and What We Do, Paul A Harper Lecture, John Hopkins University, Baltimore April 2 2008
  • Sousa, David A; (2006)  How the Brain Learns, 3rd Edition, CA, Corwin Press
  • Sousa, David A; (2010) Brainy Teaching, Educational Neuroscience and Classroom Practice , Teacher April 2010   brain based strategies as well as discussion on mirror neurons, learning disorders. Easy to read and applicable
  • Townsend, Tony (2003) Radical Intervention. Working with those who struggle to learn. IARTV Seminar Series No 126, Melbourne
  • Willis, Judy (2007) Research Based Strategies to Ignite Student Learning: Insights from a Neurologist and Classroom Teacher
  • Willis, Judy; (2009) What You Should Know About the Brain, Educational Leadership, ASCD  Willis describes the three main aspects of how she works with the brain –the RAS, the Limbic System and Dopamine reward systems. Easy to read and practical
  • Wolfe, Patricia (2001) Brain Matters, Translating Brain Research into Classroom Practice VA. ASCD
  • Wolfe, Patricia (2008) Brain Research and Education : Fad or Foundation, Mind Matters Website


  • Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development (ASCD) online professional development courses and resources http://www.ascd.org
  • Brain Maps http://www.brainmaps.com Helpful with anatomy, connections and function. a great table with “Brain region/Acronym/Functions and Disorders” with some good visual links to other resources
  • Brewer, Chris Boyd, www.newhorizons.org looking at teaching and learning strategies with subdivisions on website such as “ Arts in Education” – music and its effects on learning, business settings and many links to neuroscience abstracts- a large number of Marion Diamond references
  • Caine Institute, US, http://www.cainelearning.com the arrangement of site gives the links to the original works, some great down loadable papers.
  • Dana Foundation, non-profit organisation bringing neuroscientists together to inform the public, great links eg Brainy Kids Online, resources,  Neuroscience for kids http://www.dan.org/resources/brainykids
  • EScience News . http://esciencenews.com up to date “stuff” to follow up or be aware of what is happening
  • Franklin Institute – Resources for Science Learning , “The Human Brain”  http://www.fi.edu/learn/brain/index.html “the food it likes, the challenges it craves, the rest it requires and the challenges it deserves” great links for sleep, and especially “nourish” and the four sided pyramid
  • Hardiman, Dr Mariale M. http://www.braintargetedteaching.org A different way to look at the basic needs to be met in a brain compatible class. Easy to follow, good teaching unit examples and good quotes.. linked to John
    Hopkins University, Great overall summary diagram for key points
  • John Hopkins University, School of Education http://education.jhu.edu makes clear the reality of the application of neuro-education in the states, partner programs, certification in Mind Brain and Learning,
  • Kohn, Alfie www.alfiekohn.org about trying to change education structures and build progressive schools. A lot of emphasis on the need to move away from strict standards and test based assessment, gives alternative assessment models, also parenting topics
  • Jensen Learning (2010) Responses to Critics of Brain-Based Education http://www.jensenlearning.com , interesting to read the responses
  • MacArthur J.D and C.T. (1999)  Allostasis and Allostatic Load More detailed look at the physiological evidence and measurements taken to illustrate “allostasis”
  • Medina, John “Brain Rules” http://www.brainrules.net website and links amazingly grabbing and useful for brain based “stuff” but even better it was the gateway to whole lot of other sites on brain science.
  • MIT Open Courseware http://ocw.mit.edu/courses/brain-and-cognitive-sciences/ access to a range of ppt presentations, lecture notes and other resources from current researchers,    Topics represented in a table with a note about availability of material                                                                                                                                         eg Sarinana, Joshua (2007) MIT Mirror Neuron Systems, PowerPoint presentation slides which is a very good look at evidence for their existence and where they are found in humans, comparison to other primate;  Cokin Sue (2007)  Emotional Learning
  • Neuroscience for Kids: Neuroscience in the News http://faculty.washington.edu/chudler/inthenews.html
  • Nunley, Kathie Layered Curriculum for the Differenciated Classroom and applying neuroscience  www.brains.org and http://help4teachers.com/,   good for a look at a very complex website as well as to see the many links to a variety of workshops on other topics than Layered Curriculum
  • http://www.pbs.org/net/brain/3d/ , http://www.pbs.org/teachersource resources and lesson plans on brain”stuff” and a 3d model of the brain to navigate through
  • Scientific Learning Group http://.brainconnection.positscience.com (adult versiuon) http://www.scilearn.comhttp://scilearnglobal.com (fastforword)  http://www.fastforword.com.au LearnFast website.. based in Sydney                                                                                                       based on the work of Merzenich (who is still involved), the designers of FastForword and other brain training tool for adults. Martha Burns is part of this team – 4 Principles of Memory, Attention, Processing, Sequencing for language and literacy and the parts of the brain/neurotransmitters that are involved.
  • Sharp Brains (2009) http://www.sharpbrains.com brain fitness industry growth sparked the development of this site to monitor/advise/ report on the programs that are becoming available ..links news, updates etc
  • Teachers TV http://www.teachers.tv Series of interest  “Gurus” – Tony Bizon and MAP  ,  “School Matters” – Thinking Skill,  Brain-Based Approaches, Neuroscience, Schools and the Future, Creativity
  • Willis, Judy RAD TEACH http://www.radteach.com a neuroscientist who has become a classroom teacher The idea of the three big inputs to learning and again, another language for describing the application of the research
  • Weber, Ellen; McMaster, Robyn ,   MITA- Brain Based Leadership, www.brainleadershipandlearners.comwww.mitaleadership.comwww.brainsbasedbiz.blogspot.com The MITA (Multiple Intelligences Teaching Approaches) model to increase motivation “Renewal” ,  lots of summaries of how to apply MI in steps/word groups – 5 steps for higher motivation and achievement- good classroom strategies
  • Wolfe, Pat, “MIND MATTERS” ,  www.patwolfe.com great links to other references, suggests Sharp Brains  as something worth reading,  www.memory-key.com the “Mempower” site of Fiona McPherson