Beyond Individual Differences:
Organizing Processes, Information Overload and Classroom Learning
by Charles Ahern, PhD and Kenton De Kirby, 2011
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- Firmly grounded in the principles of neuropsychology, Beyond Individual Differences analyzes both successful and unproductive learning in terms of the brain’s organizing processes – that is, its unconscious sifting, selecting, and meaning-making that enable students to incorporate and build on what they’ve learned in the past. At the same time, it explores the learning situations that cause organization to break down and offers several preventive strategies. This book:
- Empowers school psychologists and educators to increase students’ curiosity, interest, and investment in learning.
- Illuminates a much-overlooked foundational element of the conditions that enable learning.
- Unites empirical neuroscientific data with highly practical educational intervention methodology.
- Identifies the most common and the most subtle signs of cognitive overload.
- Provides a unique perspective for understanding all students—from severely impaired to highly gifted—and for developing individualized intervention strategies as needed.
In an era of intense interest in educational reform, spurred by increasing global competition for jobs and advancement, it is more critical than ever to understand the nature of learning. And although much attention is paid to differences between learners, short shrift is often given to cognitive functions that characterize successful learning for all students. Yet these are the very functions that determine the difference between successful and rewarding learning versus merely “doing” without truly learning.
Key areas of coverage include:
The complex role of mental organization in learning and education.
Specific organizing processes and the links to success or failure in learning.
The student’s experience of learning and its impact on development.
Accommodating a range of individual differences in the classroom.
Practices for supporting students’ unconscious organizing processes.
Beyond Individual Differences is essential reading for a wide range of professionals and policy makers as well as researchers and graduate students in school and clinical child psychology, special and general education, social work and school counseling, speech therapy, and neuropsychology
Understanding Inconsistent Academic Performance
Integrating Educational and Neuropsychological Perspectives
Charles A. Ahern, PhD and Marion Marshall, MS
From the Journal of the Association of Educational Therapists Winter
"Beyond Individual Differences is an important book. Speaking directly to the classroom setting, it addresses essential issues concerning what it means to learn and what it means to teach. This work represents a significant step in furthering the collaboration between the fields of neuropsychology, school psychology, and education."
--- Karl H. Pribram, M.D., Ph.D. Distinguished Professor of Neuroscience at Georgetown and George Mason Universities, Emeritus professor of psychology and psychiatry at Stanford University
"As a neuropsychologist,
I'm excited that Dr. Ahern has written this book. In the field
of helping children with learning difficulties, there is a big
gap between neuropsychological assessment [testing] and the ongoing
therapeutic work with children in the process of learning. Dr.
Ahern's work bridges that gap with fresh ideas.
The concept of Cognitive
Load is on the periphery in the field of neuropsychology. When
Dr. Ahern brings it to the forefront, more neuropsychologists and
teachers see the important role it plays in learning for so many
children. I recommend this book to colleagues and
trainees in neuropsychology. “
~Carina M. Grandison, PhD
Child Neuropsychological Assessment Service,
Children's Hospital Oakland