Why Don't Students Like School

A Cognitive Scientist Answers Questions About How the Mind Works and What It Means for the Classroom

by Daniel T. Willingham

Number of pages: 240

Publisher: Jossey-Bass

BBB Library: Education

ISBN: 9780470591963

About the Author

Daniel T. Willingham is currently professor of psychology at the University of Virginia, where he has taught since 1992. Until about 2000, his research focused solely on the brain basis of learning and memory. Today all of his research concerns the application of cognitive psychology to K-12 education.


Editorial Review

Why Don’t Students Like School began as a list of nine principles that are so fundamental to the mind’s operation that they do not change as circumstances change. They are true in the classroom as they are in the laboratory and therefore can reliably be applied to classroom situations. These nine principles are presented in the form of nine questions and answers, in pursuit of two goals: to tell you how your students’ minds work, and to clarify how to use that knowledge to be a better teacher. From each answer springs a cognitive principle that is further explored with a focus on what it implies for the classroom. As such, Why Don’t Students Like School serves nine guiding cognitive principles alongside the elaborate answers to questions that most teachers are likely preoccupied with.

Book Reviews

"Willingham's thesis is that students don't like school because their teachers don't have a full understanding of certain cognitive principles and therefore don't teach as well as they could." Natural Child

"Cognitive scientist Dan Willingham focuses his acclaimed research on the biological and cognitive basis of learning. His book will help teachers improve their practice by explaining how they and their students think and learn." Gates Notes

"Within the span of 165 pages, which are sprinkled with photos of contemporary figures and objects, graphs and text boxes, Willingham explains nine tried and true theories of cognitive science in accessible and entertaining ways." Center for Teaching Excellence of the University of Virginia

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