Books and Articles

Neuroscience information is extremely useful for teachers as a background for what goes on in all of our heads as we learn and interact socially. Especially relevant is content that describes how synapses change with expended effort (study, practice, etc.). Dr. Dubinsky recommends the following reading list:

Norman Doidge, The Brain that Changes Itself

This is a great, engaging read that conveys many important neuroscience ideas through individual stories of functional impairment and repair. Used for freshman level neuroscience course at UMN.

Sarah-Jayne Blakemore & Uta Frith, The Learning Brain: Lessons for Education

Aimed at educators, perhaps elementary more than secondary, this book lays out some of the fundamental neuroscience ideas that educators need to know.

Brain Facts

This online, downloadable, pdf book is written for a high school aged audience and is chock full of basic neuroscience information. It is the go-to source for up-to-date neuroscience information. The website, is an outgrowth of the book and is also authoritative, being edited by the Society for Neuroscience. Though it does not address issues specifically with educators in mind, the book does have chapters on learning and memory, sleep, etc.

The next two books discuss what neuroscience may have to offer education. Aimed at university faculty, these books address the "controversy" regarding if and how neuroscience should or can inform education. These are research-heavy, dense reads with internal chapters that may be relevant regarding research on specific neuroscience content and its relevance to education.

Paul Howard-Jones, Introducing Neuroeducational Research: Neuroscience, Education and the Brain from Contexts to Practice

Sergio Della Sala & Mike Anderson, Neuroscience in Education: The good, the bad, and the ugly

James Zull, The Art of Changing the Brain and From Brain to Mind

As a biochemist, Zull brings a trained scientific mind to understanding neuroscience and the human communication problems that underpin the art and craft of teaching. He never loses site of the importance of the social interactions that make what defines good teaching so elusive.

D.A.Sousa, How the Brain Learns

This book presents a documented set of neuroscience concepts in a framework that will make sense to teachers. It includes pedagogical suggestions and classroom activities. The neuroscience is a little simplified, but not overstated or overinterpreted.

K. Fischer, MH Immordino-Yang The Brain and Learning

Individual chapters are written by different investigators. While the introductory chapters address the “controversy,” the following chapters actually address the neuroscience and what it may say to educators in a readable language.

The work of Carol Dweck; her article, Blackwell et al Implicit Theories of Intelligence Predict Achievement Across an Adolescent Transition: A Longitudinal Study and an Intervention2007 Child Development 78:246. Her popular book, Mindset is relevant. Although it has little real neuroscience in it, the book addresses the psychological point of view.

Teachers have told me that they like the following books which are for very general audiences, read well, and convey very simple neuroscience information applied to every day life.

John Medina, Brain Rules and Brain Rules for Baby

Sandra Aamdot & Sam Wang Welcome to Your Brain and Welcome to Your Child's Brain: How the Mind Grows from Conception to College

Biopsychology texts:

Bloom, Nelson, Lazerson Brain, Mind, and Behavior

Organized from a very neuroscientific point of view.

Bob Garrett, Brain and Behavior: An Introduction to Biological Psychology

Organized from a behavioral point of view.

For content on what the neuroscience research on music, sleep, exercise, stress, bilingual ability, etc. has to say to educators, there is no single good source. Go to the primary or secondary literature for articles. Scientific American and Scientific American Mind offer some useful articles written at a general level but some of these articles are overly simplified. Mix such popular press items with subject reviews by scientists.

Some trusted websites for teachers:

Neuroscience for Kids - Despite the title, this site is really for all ages.

The Brain from Top to Bottom

and anything from NIH, NIDA, NIMH, NINDS, etc.

If you have a book, article, or website that you'd recommend, please let us know by emailing Thanks!