Eric Jensens TEACHING with the BRAIN in MIND


[semester equivalent = 1.33 credits]



Mary Ann Johnson



This book is invaluable for saving you and your students from wasted motion and unproductive and meaningless strategies that are counterproductive to effective learning experiences.  Instead, based on research into brain-based learning, you will be guided through one fascinating insight after another, in the Introduction and twelve chapters of this latest edition of teaching how-to’s, based on our ever-growing awareness of how people really are motivated, do problem-solving and remember.
It is advised that you read and respond as you go, rather than reading the whole book and then addressing some of the engaging questions Eric Jensen has created for you in the Study Guide.  The questions are worth considering, and the author has invited his readers to make the information a personal journey to successful integration into one’s own style, repertoire, and, hopefully, one’s own school culture.
Eric Jensen is considered among the foremost interpreters of neurological theory into the practical world of the classroom teacher.  His books are encouraging, engagingly written, and inspiring. 


LEARNING OUTCOMES: Upon completion of this course, participants will have:

  1. A review of information needed to define and apply brain-compatible and brain-based teaching and learning.
  2. A focus on the best physical environment for learning in the classroom.
  3. A focus on both critical thinking skills and ways to manage the social brain.
  4. A way of understanding what are the rules and beliefs we hold that may affect our use of brain research.

Completion of all specified assignments is required for issuance of hours or credit. The Heritage Institute does not award partial credit.

The use of artificial intelligence is not permitted. Assignment responses found to be generated by AI will not be accepted.

Completing the basic assignments (Section A. Information Acquisition) for this course automatically earns participants their choice of CEUs (Continuing Education Units), Washington State Clock Hours, Oregon PDUs, or Pennsylvania ACT 48 Hours. The Heritage Institute offers CEUs and is an approved provider of Washington State Clock Hours, Oregon PDUs, and Pennsylvania ACT 48 Hours.



Continuing Education Quarter credits are awarded by Antioch University Seattle (AUS). AUS requires 75% or better for credit at the 400 level and 85% or better to issue credit at the 500 level. These criteria refer both to the amount and quality of work submitted.

  1. Completion of Information Acquisition assignments 30%
  2. Completion of Learning Application assignments 40%
  3. Completion of Integration Paper assignment 30%


CREDIT/NO CREDIT (No Letter Grades or Numeric Equivalents on Transcripts)
Antioch University Seattle (AUS) Continuing Education Quarter credit is offered on a Credit/No Credit basis; neither letter grades nor numeric equivalents are on a transcript. 400 level credit is equal to a "C" or better, 500 level credit is equal to a "B" or better. This information is on the back of the transcript.

AUS Continuing Education quarter credits may or may not be accepted into degree programs. Prior to registering, determine with your district personnel, department head, or state education office the acceptability of these credits for your purpose.



Teaching with the Brain in Mind by Eric Jensen available for approximately $7 at

  • Teaching with the Brain in Mind, Revised 2nd Edition
    ISBN# 1416600302
    by Jensen, Eric

    Buy from Amazon


Text is approximately $7 from



Assignments done in a course forum will show responses from all educators who have or are taking the course independently. Feel free to read and respond to others' comments. 
Group participants can only view and respond to their group members in the Forum. 

Assignment #1: Introduction.

First, briefly introduce yourself and explain your interest in this topic.  From the “Introduction:” Do any of the presented criticisms of brain-based learning resonate with you?  If so, which ones? 

Assignment #2: Amazing Brain.

From Chapter 1: “Meet Your Amazing Brain”   After reading Chapter 1, in what ways has your understanding of students’ brains changed or shifted?  What understandings of yours have been reinforced?

Assignment #3: School Readiness.

From Chapter 2: “Preparing the Brain for School”   What school-readiness practices or theories of your own did this chapter confirm or challenge?  
Which of the preparatory measures do you think are the most important to success in school and success in life?

Assignment #4: About Rules.

From Chapter 3:  “Rules We Live By”   All teachers follow rules about teaching and learning.  For example, some teachers believe that behavior that is reinforced is more likely to reoccur.  What are some rules about learning and the brain that you have followed? 

Assignment #5: Opinion on Rules.

From Chapter 3:  Some might argue that teachers do not have time to incorporate all the rules of learning.  For example, using repetition takes time, and so does trial-and-error learning.  A counter argument would be that following both these rules will actually save time in the long run, as teachers will need to spend less time re-teaching.  What are your thoughts on this issue?

Assignment #6: Movement & Learning.

From Chapter 4:  “Movement and Learning”   List five primary brain-based arguments for increasing the amount of movement in the classroom. Which would you say is the single best argument?  What would be the possible pros and cons of increasing the amount of movement in your classroom?

Assignment #7: Emotional States.

From Chapter 5:  “Emotional States”   Do observations of emotions factor into your classroom management strategies?  Your instructional decisions?  If so, how?  

Assignment #8: Fostering Learning.

From Chapter 5: Would you say that fostering a love of learning is a legitimate goal for a teacher? What kinds of things could a teacher do to encourage students’ emotional response to learning?

Assignment #9: Physical Environment.

From Chapter 6:  “Physical Environments for Learning”  Think about how issues related to seating and mobility affect student learning.  Describe the physical environment in your ideal school and cite brain-based arguments to justify its various components.

Assignment #10: Social Activity.

From Chapter 7:  “Managing the Social Brain”   What is the evidence connecting social activity and cognition? 

Assignment #11: Clique Tendencies & Alliances.

From Chapter 7: Consider how our brains respond with some hesitation to people who are different us.  What are the implications for school environments? 
How might educators guide students’ brain-based ‘clique’ tendencies and alliances so to encourage learning and promote desirable social behaviors?

Assignment #12: Motivation & Engagement.

From Chapter 8:  “Motivation and Engagement”  List the three (3) key ideas in this chapter.  Are they things that you can apply in your classroom? 

Assignment #13: About De-Motivation.

From Chapter 8:  What are some of the common sources of de-motivation? Do you see these in your own classes?  How do you address them?

Assignment #14: Critical Thinking Skills.

From Chapter 9“Critical Thinking Skills”  Which classroom skills must be taught to develop the problem-solving brain?  To develop the adaptive brain?  And to build student self-monitoring of their emotional state?

Assignment #15: Memory & Recall.

From Chapter 10: “Memory and Recall”   Describe the various types of memory.  What limits the ability to memorize?  How do emotions have anything to do with what we remember?

Assignment #16: Strengthening Memory.

From Chapter 10: Define priming and how might you use this strategy to strengthen your students’ memory and recall.  How might familiarity with the information in this chapter be useful for a teacher?

Assignment #17: Brain-Based Teaching.

From Chapter 11: “Brain-Based Teaching”  The author recommends a teaching model with a 10-80-10 profile: 10% of any learning activity previewing/priming; 80% on the material itself; final 10% on review and revision.  Is the introductory 10% on priming and the concluding 10% for review and revision adequate for your students?

Assignment #18: Misc.

From Chapter 12:  “Schools with the Brain in Mind”   What are some of the essentials in creating a positive climate for teachers?  What additional suggestions would you make?  Consider your school’s staff development activities.  What are some ways they might be more brain-based?  How does your school/district rate on creating a good climate for teachers?

Assignment #19: Opinion on Assessment.

From Chapter 12:  Think about the suggestions for more brain-based assessment.  Do you agree or disagree with these suggestions?

Assignment #20: COURSE FORUM.

From Chapter 12:  Based on the information in this book, what changes are you thinking about using in your own instruction? 
If you have already made changes, what results have you seen?
From the information Jensen shared, what is the most important change you want to make in how you manage and lead students?
If others have already written comments, please respond to the one(s) that caught your interest.



In this section, you will apply your learning to your professional situation. This course assumes that most participants are classroom teachers who have access to students. If you do not have a classroom available to you, please contact the instructor for course modifications. Assignments done in a course forum will show responses from all educators who have or are taking the course independently. ​Feel free to read and respond to others' comments. Group participants can only view and respond to their group members in the Forum. 


Assignment #21: (Required for 400 and 500 Level)

Complete one of the following options:
Option A)
  • Adapt a lesson reflecting what you’ve learned in this course.
  • Implement your lesson with students.
  • Write a 250-500 word commentary on what worked well and what could be improved.
  • Include any student feedback on your lesson.
  • Share what you’ve learned with other teachers taking our courses by adding your Lesson to The Heritage Institute Lesson Library here.
  • For a sample lesson plan template click here.
  • Submit your modified lesson to your instructor via the online response box or file upload.
Option B)
  • Adapt a lesson reflecting what you’ve learned in this course. (Do not implement it.)
  • Share your learning with other teachers by contributing your Lesson to The Heritage Institute Lesson Library here.
  • For a sample lesson plan template click here.
  • Write a 500+ word article about a noteworthy teaching success you’ve had with one or more students.
  • Please refer to the guidelines on our blog What Works: Teaching at its Best prior to writing your article.
  • When you submit your article to your instructor, please also email a copy to Renee Leon THI blog curator and media specialist.
  • Indicate whether or not you are OK with having your article considered for publishing on our website. 
  • Submit your lesson to your instructor via the response box or file upload.

Assignment #22: (500 Level ONLY)

In addition to the 400 level assignments, complete one (1) of the following assignment options:   
Option A)  Based on your reading create a Power Point presentation for a group of colleagues.
Option B)  Create an Annotated Bibliography of five (5) books or articles related to the subject of your course.  Add your opinion of the value or your criticism of the contents of each book or article, and rate the importance of the material in contrast to the subject of your course.


Assignment #23: (Required for 400 and 500 level)

(Please do not write this paper until you've completed all of your other assignments)

Write a 400-500 word Integration Paper answering these 5 questions:

  1. What did you learn vs. what you expected to learn from this course?
  2. What aspects of the course were most helpful and why?
  3. What further knowledge and skills in this general area do you feel you need?
  4. How, when and where will you use what you have learned?
  5. How and with what other school or community members might you share what you learned?


Instructors will comment on each assignment. If you do not hear from the instructor within a few days of posting your assignment, please get in touch with them immediately.


Mary Ann Johnson, M.Ed Adm. has worked with students of all levels, from alternative high school to gifted classes. She has also been a junior high vice principal and is now working with teachers for continuing education in classes, distance learning and building leadership groups. She is a teacher emeritus who has led seminars for educators which focus on developing a quality learner environment for students and for teachers. Her courses are research-based and resonate with user-friendly and energizing content.


Eric Jensens TEACHING with the BRAIN in MIND

COSTA, Arthur L, and KALLICK, Bena, Discovering & Exploring Habits of Mind, pb, 106 pages, ASCD, 2000.  This is the beautiful introduction to the list of 16 types of intelligent behavior that Costa and Kallick have termed “habits of mind.”  In this book, you will find out what are these 16 indicators of intelligence, and find a visual icon for each.  (There is also a website with famous quotations for each of these habits of mind.)  At the end of the book you’ll find exciting and inspiring ways for teachers to teach directly what these habits of mind are for students, in many creative and motivating strategies to deeply process their appeal and power.  Hint:  my favorite is “managing  impulsivity.”  Intelligent, indeed!

DECI, Edward L.,Why We Do What We Do, 230 pages, Penguin Books, 1995. ISBN 0-14-025526-5.  This is the most often referenced book on the subject of intrinsic motivation. It establishes the goal of helping others find the long-term benefits of choosing what is the most worthwhile and satisfying course of action instead of settling for the goal of gaining compliance.   It is very readable and refocuses a person on why it is honorable and important to help people gain the knowledge of self-direction and self-control.
ERLAUER, Laura, The Brain-Compatible Classroom:  Using What We Know About Learning to Improve Teaching, pb, 168 pages, ASCD, 2003.  This book begins with “A Walk Through the Brain,” and includes seven chapters explaining  the seven most important components of a brain-compatible approach.  Examples show how to put them into place at different grade levels and in different subject areas. At the conclusion of the book, there is a challenge to make the move to help make your school, or even district, commit to putting these powerful tools into practice!  It provides clarity and inspiration to help you test your practice to align it with realities of the truths about human learning.
ERWIN, Jonathan C., The Classroom of Choice, Giving Students What They Need and Getting What You Want, 229 pages, ASCD, 2004.  ISBN 0-87120-829-6.
Based on Glasser’s beliefs that people have these motivators:  fun, freedom, power and belonging.  Give students choices, and they will pick what meets an unmet need. It is rich and wonderful, full of practical and engaging strategies to achieve important intellectual goals while helping students meet their developing social and intellectual needs.  Erwin believes that while learning is hard work, it doesn’t have to be painful:  Fun is both a prerequisite for and a byproduct of quality learning.

GREGORY, Gayle, KAUFELDT, Martha, The Motivated Brain:  Improving Student Attention, Engagement, and Perseverance, pb, 169 pages, ASCD, 2015.
If you have been interested in brain compatible teaching, you will find this a great addition to your search for information on strategies for presenting information and helping students deeply understand and retain it.  This book adds the other important dimension of brain research, the power of motivation to learn, or to seek to explore for deeply satisfying personal growth.  Full of ideas you can use in enthusiastic ways!

JENSEN, Eric, Brain Compatible Strategies, Second Edition, pb, 82 pages, Corwin Press, 2004.  This is the handbook to help you move from understanding the importance of brain compatible teaching to finding the specific teaching suggestions for putting your beliefs into practice.  Ideas include “Physical Movement,” enriching the “Learning Environment,” choosing “Learning Boosters,”  “Active Learning” and “Cooperative Learning.” This how-to field book will provide you with activities for your brain-compatible teaching.

JENSEN, Eric, Arts with the Brain in Mind, pb, 137 pages, ASCD, 2001.  Here is a book to add insights and confirm your suspicion that the arts can be a wonderful avenue to teach all sorts of subjects better.  While this book has bedrock value for arts educators, it can also provide richness to the teacher of any subject area who suspects there are more ways to enjoy learning than the artless classroom provides.

WILLIS, Judy, M.D., Research-Based Strategies to Ignite Student Learning:  Insights from a Neurologist and Classroom Teacher, pb,  125 pages, ASCD, 2006.
In each of the four chapters of this book, you will find both highly practical information to inform your own teaching and down-to-earth explanations of why these strategies are so powerful in light of brain research.  The author, who was first a doctor of neurology, working with students and adults with brain dysfunctions, found teaching in elementary and middle schools her more exciting calling, and her work combining the science and art of teaching is the reason for this book.  The book is especially easy to follow, because every main point has a dark heading, and the book includes information, both about the science of better ways to teach for memory and test taking, and about the importance of getting student attention and the role of emotions in the learning environment.

WOOD, Chip, Yardsticks:  Children in the Classroom Ages 4-14, 3rd Edition, pb, 216 pages, Northwest Foundation for Children, 2007.  The answer to many of our questions about  the best way to deal with the children of a certain age or grade level will be amply supplied in this invaluable book on developmental aspects of each age from 4-14.  Although there are wide ranges in the development of children across ages and cultures, the big picture is also helpful to pick up patterns of growth, classroom abilities, and learning readiness.  For each age profiled, you will learn about the typical physical norms, social-emotional development, language skills and readiness, and cognitive strengths.  In addition, there are notes on vision and fine and gross motor abilities,  It is easy to bracket the ages of your particular focus, to see the prior and emerging patterns to expect.  Life a college course in child development without the paperwork!