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The Instructional Leader and the Brain

The Instructional Leader and the Brain
Using Neuroscience to Inform Practice

Foreword by Pat Wolfe

September 2011 | 208 pages | Corwin

Apply neuroscience to leadership and become a gamechanger

An instructional leader who understands how people learn has the power to transform a school and raise student achievement. Brain pioneer Margaret Glick weaves the fields of cognitive science, neuroscience, educational leadership, and instruction into a cohesive framework for understanding how the brain learns, and shows how to apply this knowledge to teacher and student learning. Understanding the five elements that affect how we learn results in the following benefits:

  • Increased understanding of the learning process
  • Improved communication
  • Enhanced relationships
  • Better interpersonal skills
  • New tools for giving effective feedback
  • An inner compass for continuous improvement

Included are brain illustrations, rubrics, implementation ideas for teachers, step-by-step pedagogy, and assessments to help instructional leaders understand how brain functions inform instruction, and how to teach these principles to their teachers.

Foreword by Pat Wolfe
Preface - Brain Compatible Instructional Leadership
About the Author
Instructional Leaders  
Knowledge and Skills  
Why This Book? Why Now?  
What Makes This Book Unique?  
Organization of the Book  
1. A Brain Primer – Major Structures and Their Functions
Brain Hemispheres  
The Cortex  
The Cerebellum  
Lobes of the Brain  
Frontal Lobes  
Parietal Lobes  
Motor Strip  
Somatosensory Strip  
Temporal Lobes  
Occipital Lobes  
Cellular Brain  
Plasticity’s Role in Instructional Leadership  
Mindsets and Instructional Leadership  
How Might the Instructional Leader Support a Teacher Struggling with these Principles?  
Celebrate What You Want to See More Of  
Using The Survey  
Survey for Brain-Compatible Instructional Leadership  
2. Emotions
How Insults Affect Thinking  
The Transformative Power of Positive Emotions  
How Anxiety Can Curtail Clear Thinking  
Neuroscience behind emotions  
The Limbic Region – The Role of the Amygdala and Hippocampus  
Fast v. Slow Pathway – (Fight or Flight v. Thoughtful Response)  
Negative Emotions Impact in a School Setting  
Positive Emotions in a School Setting  
How to use this as an Instructional Leader  
Positive Emotional Valance in a Classroom  
Modeling of Healthy Emotional Responses  
Language’s Link to Emotions  
Emotions and Supervising Teachers  
School-wide Structures that Promote Positive Emotional Valance  
Professional Development on Emotions – Inform and Teach  
Connecting Instructional Leader Knowledge and Skill Sets to Emotions Impact On Learning  
Resource Provider  
Instructional Resource  
Good Communicator  
Sample Observation of How a Teacher Embeds the Principle  
What are Some of the Things the Teacher did that Exemplified an Understanding of How Emotions Impact Learning?  
Ideas for Teachers to Increase EQ in their Classrooms  
Class Meetings  
Teaching Students About Their Brains  
Sam’s Circles  
Chapter Summary  
Post-Assessment Chapter 2 – Emotions Impact on Learning  
Questions for Study Group  
3. Attention and Engagement
How does understanding how attention and engagement work help an instructional leader?  
Inattention subterfuge  
Attention v. Engagement  
Attention and Engagement Similarities  
ADD/ADHD and Attention  
Qualities of Engaging Work  
Personal Response  
Personal response in the Classroom  
Personal response in the Staffroom  
Clear Models  
Clear Models in the Classroom  
Clear Models in the Staffroom  
Emotional Safety  
Emotional Safety in the Classroom  
Emotional Safety in the Staffroom  
Intellectual Safety  
Intellectual Safety in the Classroom  
Intellectual Safety in the Staffroom  
Learning With Others  
Learning with Others in the Classroom  
Learning with Others in the Staffroom  
Feedback in the Classroom  
Feedback in the Staffroom  
Sense of Audience  
Sense of Audience in the Classroom  
Sense of Audience in the Staffroom  
Choice in the Classroom  
Choice in the Staffroom  
Variety in the Classroom  
Variety in the Staffroom  
Authenticity in the Classroom  
Authenticity in the Staffroom  
Rigor in the Classroom  
Rigor in the Staffroom  
Sense of Competence  
Sense of Competence in the Classroom  
Sense of Competence in the Staffroom  
Meaning and Relevance  
Meaning and Relevance in the Classroom  
Meaning and Relevance in the Staffroom  
Connecting Instructional Leader Knowledge and Skill Sets to Attention and Engagement  
Resource Provider  
Instructional Resource  
Good Communicator  
Professional Development for Attention and Engagement  
What to Look For in a Lesson Plan?  
Sample Observation of a Teacher who Understands the Principle  
What are some of the Things the Teacher Did to Take Advantage of Attention and Engagement?  
Chapter Summary  
Post Assessment Chapter 3 – Attention and Engagement  
Questions for Study Group  
4. The Power Processing
The Effects of Sensory Overload on Processing  
Things that Inhibit Processing  
Processing that Seems Effortless  
Two Filters to Consider – Relevance and Environment  
The Neuroscience Behind Processing – An Analogy  
Brain Structures, Functions and Processing  
Planning for Processing  
Results of Effective Processing  
What to Look For in Classrooms: Student Processing  
The Use of Multiple Modalities  
The Use of Specific Structures that Enhance Processing  
Thinking Maps  
Classroom Structures that Aid Processing  
Using Drawing for Processing  
Kinesthetic Structures for Processing  
Computer-Assisted Processing  
Time for Processing  
Proof of Processing  
Promising Practices with Professional Development  
What to Look for In a Lesson Plan  
Lesson Plans, Unit Plans and Curriculum that Attends to Processing  
Connecting Instructional Leader Knowledge and Skill Sets to Understanding Processing  
Resource Provider  
Instructional Resource  
Good Communicator  
Sample Observation of How a Teacher Embeds the Principle  
What are some of the Things the Teacher did to Take Advantage of How We Process?  
Chapter Summary  
Post Assessment Chapter 4 – The Power of Processing  
Questions for Study Group  
5. Feedback
How Understanding Feedback Helps the Instructional Leader  
Untimely Feedback  
Feedback that Encourages and Motivates  
What is Feedback?  
What’s Going on in Our Brains During Feedback?  
Tight and Loose Feedback  
Correlation Between Amount of Feedback and Distance to Learning Goal  
Different Kinds of Feedback  
Written Feedback  
Demonstration for Feedback  
Elements of Effective Feedback  
Emotional Valance of Feedback  
Feedback in the Staffroom  
Giving Feedback on Instruction  
Feedback Regarding Professionalism  
Methods of Feedback in Classrooms  
Rubrics are Brain-Compatible  
Models for Feedback  
Using Rubrics for Feedback With Teachers  
What to Look for in the Classroom  
Student to Student Feedback  
Learning Progressions  
Feedback During Instruction  
Individual White Boards and Feedback  
Student Response Systems  
Five-Finger Rubrics  
The Magic of the Dot  
Checklist Provide Feedback  
Reflections for Feedback  
Professional Development for Teaching About Feedback  
What to Look for in a Lesson Plan  
Connecting Instructional Leader Knowledge and Skill Sets to Understanding Feedback  
Resource Provider  
Instructional Resource  
Good Communicator  
Sample Observation of How a Teacher Embeds the Principle  
What Are Some of the Things the Teacher Did to Take Advantage of Giving and Getting Feedback?  
Chapter Summary  
Post Assessment Chapter 5 – Feedback  
Questions for Study Group  
6. Memory
How Understanding How Memory Works Helps the Instructional Leader  
Unconscious Memory  
Remembering – Even When You Don’t Want To  
Remembering After Decades  
What is Memory?  
Timing Issues  
Amount of Information Issue – M-Space and Chunking  
How Does Memory Work?  
Different Memory Systems – Declarative and Non-Declarative  
Declarative Memory  
Declarative Memories’ Subgroups – Semantic and Episodic  
Semantic Memory  
Episodic Memories  
Non-Declarative (procedural, emotional, automatic response)  
Procedural Memories  
Emotional Memories  
Automatic Responses  
Some Things that Help Us Remember  
Why and How do We Forget? The Seven Sins of Memory  
Sample Observation of How a Teacher Embeds the Principle  
What are Some Things the Teacher Did to Take Advantage of Memory Systems in this Example?  
Connecting Instructional Leader Knowledge and Skill Sets to Understanding How Memory Works  
Resource Provider  
Instructional Resource  
Good Communicator  
Chapter Summary  
Post Assessment Chapter 6 – Memory  
Questions for Study Group  

"This book combines information about how the brain functions with brain-compatible strategies into one resource that educators can use to transform classrooms into brain-compatible learning places."

Leslie Standerfer, Principal
Estrella Foothills High School, Goodyear, AZ

"The book ties together strategies and best practices with the six guiding principles of brain function. Margaret Glick explains these complex concepts in language that is easy to understand. Educational leaders will find that Brain-Compatible Leadership validates what they are already doing right, and offers numerous new ideas to try with their students and staff."

Julie Prescott, Assessment Coordinator
Vallivue High School Caldwell, ID

"Glick offers a unique approach to educational leadership development, as she brings the study of neuroscience to the field of learning. Complex brain actions for learning are explained in concise terms and understandable images. Application of how the brains of adults and children learn is woven into the chapters with practical classroom and staff room designs."

Pamela Nevills, Author
Fallbrook, CA

"This book peels back the layers of the complex work of instructional leadership to the inner core of its five most important principles. Margaret Glick is adept at aligning each of these critical principles to strategies of effective practice as they would look in the classroom and the staff room."

Ellen Lugo, Director of Learning & Teaching
Ontario Montclair School District, CA

“In her book, Glick strikes a harmonious chord by blending research about the brain with actions adults should take when preparing children for a meaningful future. Her analysis and application of information in and around processing and feedback are simply outstanding.” 

George Zimmer, Superintendent and Lynette Zimmer, Superintendent
Richmond School District, Sussex, WI and Consolidated School District 46, Crystal Lake, IL

"Brain Compatible Instructional Leadership brings brain research into the staffroom of the American schoolhouse. Margaret Glick provides a concise and up-to-date look at the latest and best research about how the brain works in both children and adults. The author revisits the work of multiple experts and varied sources and synthesizes the work into a practical application for teachers, teacher leaders, and school administrators."

John Antonetti, Senior Consultant
Colleagues on Call, Phoenix, AZ

"This is a clear, concise book that provides brain research background knowledge along with classroom applications and leadership strategies to enhance and monitor classroom instruction. There are many strategies a leader can use in PLCs, individual teacher supervision, and school-wide processes. This book has a good mix of theory and practical applications."

William Sommers, Principal
Spring Lake Park, MN
Key features
This book will contain brain illustrations, tables, figures, implementation ideas for classroom teachers, chapter summaries, assessments to aid in PD settings, and end of chapter study questions.

For instructors

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ISBN: 9781412988223

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