Monday, May 13, 2013

Brain School by Howard Eaton

This book was presented to me by June, my lecturer from my Post-Graduate Certificate course in Specific Learning Differences. She wanted me to find out more about the Arrowsmith programme and this was a book that was just about that. I had been intrigued by the revolutionary programme in a book I had read earlier titled, The Brain That Changes Itself, and had been waxing lyrical about it that June decided to loan me her unread copy of this book.

It did not fail to disappoint.

This book presents the journey of Howard Eaton, himself someone who has dyslexia, on his educational journey growing up, how he set up Eaton Learning Centre, a centre for assessing children with learning difficulties, and how he went on to set up the Eaton Arrowsmith School.

The book consists mainly of the profiles of various students of this school. It details how they were before entering the school (mostly underachieving), how the Arrowsmith helped them do up a comprehensive cognitive profiling, what they did in school, and finally, the results they achieved after 2 - 3 years in the programme.

Their stories are nothing short of remarkable.

Many had issues that even schools dealing with dyslexia could not handle. These include a severe lack of social skills, motor difficulties, verbal expression difficulties among others. However, after being in the Arrowsmith programme that dealt directly with the underlying cognitive deficits, these children blossomed and overcame these difficulties.

All of them had psycho-educational assessments performed on them before and after the programme and they simply blew my mind.

All of them showed substantial improvement in all areas of whatever they were tested in, showing that the brain is indeed plastic. 

The Arrowsmith programme is founded on the underlying principle that the brain is plastic. Its basis on neuroplasticity was groundbreaking. However, many educational practitioners chose not to believe in it, hindering the widespread use of the programme. This book aims to persuade the reader to embrace the programme and perceive the impact the programme would have on countless of students who are only languishing in their current educational systems.

This is a read for all those dealing with students with learning difficulties, dyslexia or otherwise. This book is also a must read for parents with such kids and would inspire them not to give up hope on their kids. Finally, all teachers ought to read this too, as roughly 10% of all kids in their classrooms would have a learning disability of one form or another.


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