Enriching the Brain: How to Maximize Every Learner’s Potential

by Eric Jensen, Jossey-Bass, San Francisco, Calif., 2006, 352 pp., $24.95 hardcover

Brain research has become one of the most important fields of study as it relates to improving one’s overall well-being, as well as the field of education.

Eric Jensen, a former teacher and student of psychology, is known for his application of neuroscience information to instructional practice. In Enriching the Brain: How to Maximize Every Learner’s Potential, Jensen discusses brain research and its implication for enriching classroom life.

The first part discusses the myths about how the brain works, what is meant by intelligence as related to the brain, and the notion of enrichment and improving brain function. Jensen presents the material about brain function and recent research in a clear and easy-to-understand manner.

As an educator learning about how the brain works and its potential, I found the subject not only fascinating but crucial toward improving teaching. Unfortunately, Enriching the Brain is somewhat disappointing because of its lack of practical application.

While describing some brain functions, Jensen does briefly suggest activities for enrichment. However, when the author gets to the chapter titled “Enrichment as Education Policy,” he suggests that all students have individualized educational plans to meet their unique needs. His two chapters devoted to activities for enrichment reveal little that a well-seasoned educator doesn’t already know about and use.

The premise of this book is intriguing and timely, but Jensen’s work falls short in expanding the knowledge base for educators on new methods of enrichment to use in the classroom.

Reviewed by Edythe B. Austermuhl, superintendent, Deerfield Township School District, Rosenhayn, N.J.