Book Review: Your Fantastic Elastic Brain: Stretch It, Shape It – JoAnn Deak

I happened upon this book and I walked through one of the American Museum of Natural History’s shops (they have several) and was immediately captivated. I am a big fan of explaining neuroplasticity and brain science to kids. An author, neurologist, and educator, Dr. Julia Willis, in one particularly fascinating article have stated:

I found that when students know about how their brains learn they are motivated to take action. Especially when students feel they are ‘not smart’ and nothing they do can change that, the realization that they can change their brains through study and review strategies is empowering. Children, as well as many adults, think that intelligence is determined at or before birth and no amount of effort will change their academic success.

It just isn’t so. I think I’ve made it pretty clear that I hold little belief in inherent talent or intelligence. Carol Dweck’s research demonstrates that praising children for “inherent ability” as opposed to effort or hard work is not a good way to instill self-esteem, self-efficacy, or motivation in children.

JoAnn Deak’s book is a great tool if you are interested in explaining brain science to your child. I don’t know why you wouldn’t, quite frankly. Deak’s correct point that even when you don’t succeed at a task, your brain is learning better and better every time how to achieve it. It takes time. It takes effort. It takes practice. Your brain isn’t designed to know how to do anything perfectly the first time, and that’s okay!

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Hello. My name is Natalie, welcome to my blog. I'm married and a mom of two small children.

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