Facilitating Learning with the Adult Brain in Mind: A Conceptual and Practical Guide
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More About This Title Facilitating Learning with the Adult Brain in Mind: A Conceptual and Practical Guide


Practical "brain-aware" facilitation tailored to the adult brain

Facilitating Learning with the Adult Brain in Mind explains how the brain works, and how to help adults learn, develop, and perform more effectively in various settings. Recent neurobiological discoveries have challenged long-held assumptions that logical, rational thought is the preeminent approach to knowing. Rather, feelings and emotions are essential for meaningful learning to occur in the embodied brain. Using stories, metaphors, and engaging illustrations to illuminate technical ideas, Taylor and Marienau synthesize relevant trends in neuroscience, cognitive science, and philosophy of mind. Readers unfamiliar with current brain discoveries will enjoy an informative, easy-to-read book. Neuroscience fans will find additional material designed to supplement their knowledge.

Many popular publications on brain and learning focus on school-aged learners or tend more toward anatomical description than practical application. This book provides facilitators of adult learning and development a much-needed resource of tested approaches plus the science behind their effectiveness.

  • 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

Compared with other books on brain and learning, this volume includes dozens of specific examples of how experienced practitioners facilitate meaningful learning. These "brain-aware" approaches can be adopted and adapted for use in diverse settings. Facilitating Learning with the Adult Brain in Mind should be read by advisors/counselors, instructors, curriculum and instructional developers, professional development designers, corporate trainers and coaches, faculty mentors, and graduate students—in fact, anyone interested in how adult brains learn.


KATHLEEN TAYLOR is professor in the Doctorate of Educational Leadership program in the Kalmanovitz School of Education at Saint Mary's College of California. A former Fulbright Scholar, she teaches, writes, and consults internationally in the areas of adult development and learning, learning and transformation, creativity, and "brain-aware" facilitation of adult learning.

CATHERINE MARIENAU is professor-faculty mentor and coordinator of the Master of Arts in Educating Adults program in the School for New Learning at DePaul University. She teaches, writes, and consults in the areas of adult learning and development, competency-based learning, assessing learning, reflective practice, and "brain-aware" facilitation of adult learning.

They are the authors, with Morris Fiddler, of the award-winning Developing Adult Learners: Strategies for Teachers and Trainers from Jossey-Bass.


Preface ix

PART I: Brain: Then and Now 1

Chapter 1: Brain Basics–changes in the brain over eons 3

Chapter 2: The Learning, Changing Adult Brain–experience, memory, and emotions 33

Chapter 3: Metaphors, Embodiment, and Hemispheres–foundations of brain-aware approaches 59

PART II: PracticesThat Enhance Adult Learning–featuring the Theatre of Knowing 81

Chapter 4: Setting the Stage for Learning–lowering anxiety, engaging curiosity 91

Chapter 5: Enter Stage Left–starting with verbal-theoretical conceptual approaches in mind 115

Chapter 6: Enter Stage Right–starting with embodied and metaphorical approaches in mind 135

Chapter 7: Center Stage–interweaving multifaceted approaches 175

Chapter 8: Spotlight on Meaning Making–scaffolding reflection and feedback 215

PART III: Reflecting on Practice 245

Chapter 9: Enhancing Brain-Aware Practice with Theory–foundational theories of learning and development 247

Chapter 10: Toward Complexity and Commitment–learning that promotes courageous informed action 287

Epilogue 311

References 315

Acknowledgments 331

About the Authors and Contributors 333

Name Index 345

Subject Index 349