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Extended Audio Sample Why Dont Students Like School?: A Cognitive Scientist Answers Questions About How the Mind Works and What It Means for the Classroom, by Daniel T. Willingham Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (612 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Daniel T. Willingham Narrator: Paul Costanzo Publisher: Tantor Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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Kids are naturally curious, but when it comes to school, it seems like their minds are turned off. Why is it that they can remember the smallest details from their favorite television programs, yet miss the most obvious questions on their history test?

Cognitive scientist Dan Willingham has focused his acclaimed research on the biological and cognitive basis of learning and has a deep understanding of the daily challenges faced by classroom teachers. This book will help teachers improve their practice by explaining how they and their students think and learn—revealing the importance of story, emotion, memory, context, and routine in building knowledge and creating lasting learning experiences.

In this breakthrough book, Willingham has distilled his knowledge of cognitive science into a set of nine principles that are easy to understand and have clear applications for the classroom. Some examples of his surprising findings are:

  • “Learning styles” don’t exist. The processes by which different children think and learn are more similar than different.
  • Intelligence is malleable. Intelligence contributes to school performance. Children do differ, but intelligence can be increased through sustained hard work.
  • You cannot develop “thinking skills” in the absence of facts. We encourage students to think critically, not just memorize facts. However, thinking skills depend on factual knowledge for their operation.

Why Don’t Students Like School? is a basic primer for every teacher who wants to know how their brains and their students’ brains work and how that knowledge can help them hone their teaching skills.

Download and start listening now!


Quotes & Awards

  • “Corporate trainers, marketers and, not least, parents—anyone who cares about how we learn—should find his book valuable reading.”

    Wall Street Journal

  • “Every teacher and parent should listen two or three times to this fine production.…. Paul Costanzo’s well-paced narration brings clarity, conviction, and immediacy.…Highly recommended to students for its explanation of how to use learning time efficiently.”


  • “This book offers you the research, and the arguments, that will help you become a more effective teacher.”

    Joe Riener, English teacher

Listener Opinions

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 by Carolyn | 1/15/2014

    " This book explains in a simple way how our brains work and why students have various challenges with school because of how the brain functions. He keeps the book interesting, divided into chapters with titles of questions that will draw your interest to learn the answers. The chapters are brief and well-written. This book should be read by everyone! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Fab | 1/9/2014

    " Really intersting take on multiple intelligences, amongst other ideas "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 by Lauren Kaiser | 1/9/2014

    " Must read for educators. Parents too. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 by Lyddie | 12/29/2013

    " It gave me some ideas for helping students learn, but it is the type of book that will require a second reading to really integrate the information into my thinking. "

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About the Author
Author Daniel T. Willingham

Daniel T. Willingham is a professor of psychology at the University of Virginia, where he has taught since 1992, conducting research on the applications of cognitive science to K–12 education. He earned his BA in psychology from Duke University and his PhD from Harvard University. Willingham writes the popular “Ask the Cognitive Scientist” column for American Educator magazine.