The Science of Learning - What Every Teacher Should Know

Introductory teaching course for K-12 teachers about the science of learning and how to use current research to improve classroom outcomes.

The Science of Learning – What Every Teacher Should Know

Course Description

This education course will show you, through current research, how we learn — the way our brain makes, stores, and retrieves memories.

You will examine common misconceptions and misunderstandings about learning that can prevent students from learning at their fullest capacity. Along the way you will explore the practical implications of cognitive science for classroom teaching in terms of choosing effective instructional strategies, developing useful assessments, motivating student effort, and designing learner-centered curricular units.

This course is aimed to enhance the practice of K-12 teachers.

Course Outcomes:
  • How the brain encodes memories, stores them, and retrieves them for later use.
  • Why working memory is so important for learning and ways to prevent it from getting overloaded.
  • Strategies for making memories that “stick” and can be readily recalled when needed.
  • Misconceptions that many students have about learning and ways to correct them.
  • How student mindsets and beliefs about learning can help or hinder their academic success.
  • How to help students become independent and self-regulated learners so they can lead their own learning.
  • Teaching strategies and assessment techniques that maximize student learning.
About Instructor:

Pearl Rock Kane

Pearl Rock Kane, a professor of education at Teachers College, Columbia University, holds the Klingenstein Family Chair for the Advancement of Independent School Education. She holds a master of arts degree from Smith College and a doctorate from Teachers College. Professor Kane serves as the director of the Klingenstein Center and is the advisor for the master's degree programs.

Professor Kane taught and served as an administrator in public and private schools in Michigan, Massachusetts and New York. She currently serves on the board of Uncommon Schools, a charter management organization. She is a founding trustee of Brooklyn Prospect Charter School in Brooklyn, NY.

Professor Kane is the recipient of a number of honors and awards including the 2009 National Association of Principals for Schools for Girls Outstanding Achievement Award, and the European Council of International Schools 2008 Award for Exemplary Contribution and Outstanding Service to Promotion of International Education.

She is editor of The First Year of Teaching: Real World Stories by America's Teachers, Independent Schools, Independent Thinkers and The Colors of Excellence: Hiring and Keeping Teachers of Color in Independent Schools. She has published numerous articles on issues of leadership, diversity, governance, and the attraction and retention of teachers. Her current areas of research focus on privatization, charter schools, and independent and international school leadership and governance.


Kevin Mattingly

Dr. Kevin Mattingly has been a science teacher, administrator, and athletic coach for 35 years in junior high and high schools. In addition, he has taught graduate courses in learning theory and its practical teaching applications for 10 years at Teachers College Columbia University. Over the years he has helped start a school (The Mountain School in VT), been a consultant to systemic school reform initiatives, and worked with over thirty schools on curriculum design, teaching strategies and professional development programs. He has also been involved with a variety of summer academic programs for students including the New Jersey Scholars, Vermont Governor's Institute on Science and Technology, Hotchkiss Summer Portals and a number of summer enrichment programs for public school students from New York City, Philadelphia and Trenton, NJ. Since the the fall of 2015, he is the director of the co-curriculum for the Riverdale School (NYC). Mattingly holds a Ph.D. in zoology and a B.A. in biological sciences from Indiana University (IN).


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