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Book

FACILITATING LEARNING WITH
THE ADULT BRAIN IN MIND

About the book:

Using stories, metaphors, and engaging illustrations to illuminate technical ideas, Taylor and Marienau synthesize relevant trends in neuroscience, cognitive science, and philosophy of mind. For readers unfamiliar with current brain discoveries, the book is informative and easy to read. Neuroscience fans will find references to additional material and scientific journals that will supplement their existing knowledge. The book also provides dozens of “brain-aware” approaches facilitators may adopt or adapt to use in diverse settings. 

Readers will:
 Appreciate the fundamental role of experience in adult learning
 Understand how metaphor and analogy spark curiosity and creativity.
 Alleviate adult anxieties that impede learning.
 Acquire tools and approaches that foster adult learning and development.

The book is an insightful, thought-provoking resource for anyone interested in how adult brains learn. Use pull-down menu for excerpts from  Facilitating Learning with the Adult Brain in Mind.

Key Ideas

At the synaptic level, all brains learn the same way. However, because experience is the basis of all learning, adults’ greater variety of life experiences sets them apart from younger learners, as well as from one another.

 

Everything we come to know and understand throughout our lifetimes--including the most abstract concepts--originated with body-based metaphors and analogies, because these are the embodied brain's basic reference points.

 

The fact that the brain is embodied is crucial to understanding how brains function. The brain is not just inside the skull like a walnut in a shell. It is a body-brain, connected with and responsive to every part of the body.

 

Many of the brain's default systems may prove counterproductive to engaging in the kind of learning currently demanded of us by the increasing complexity of modern life.

 

Though networks are constantly being revised and refined well-established patterns are far more difficult to change.

 

The emphasis on learning and thinking primarily as rational, cognitive activities effectively diminishes the powerful potential of intentionally learning with and through the body--which is, ironically, the only way the brain can ever learn.

 

Metaphor precedes logic. First, the brain uses symbols and images; only then does it begin to construct words and a logical story.

Meaningful adult learning hinges on the distinction between knowing more and seeing differently. Only when we have developed the capacity to see the larger, more complex context and our own relationship to it can we begin to address the issues that increasingly bedevil modern life.

The changes that come from continuously elaborating, linking, and reconstructing neural connections are what is called learning.

We are all drawn to those who are like-minded—an apt metaphor—thus continually reconfirming our assumptions.

Embodiment is at the root of everything we perceive, know, or understand--and therefore, ultimately, of the choices we make, or actions we take in response to our perceptions.


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© Kathleen Taylor and Catherine Marienau, 2016