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Book Reviews

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Review by Sonja Vandeleur


Channelling Brain Power for Critical Thinking, Complex Problem-Solving and Creativity

Julie Dunstan and Susannah Cole

The combination of Julie Dunstan, a developmental psychologist,  and Susannah Cole, an executive function coach, enables a blend of research and implementable practice that enable solutions to 'unleash questioning, problem-solving and creativity'. As with David Perkins' book, 'Future Wise', I needed a pencil to make notes in the margins. I kept saying to myself 'Absolutely! Exactly!', as it all makes such sense. The authors blend existing practices with new ones to 'unlock the potential of student agency as the pathway towards resilience and adaptation'. The book is a valuable tool for educators and parents alike. The book offers strategies for students to encourage deeper engagement, and explains how the feeling of cognitive dissonance is what leads to learning. 

This book combines the notions of Dweck's 'Growth Mindset' and Duckworth's 'Grit' and shows educators how to put this combination into practice.  The three themes discussed in the book are: 


* 3 pillars of a Flexible Mindset: metacognition, I CAN messages, executive function processes
* Productive Puzzling & the role of grappling in learning
* The 3C's - how Critical Thinking, Complex Problem-Solving & Creativity are a catalyst for building Flexible Mindsets


The theme that truly resonated with me was that of Productive Puzzling, as this is something that students need to experience in order to grapple with ideas to which the solutions are not immediately apparent. 

This book get a 5-star rating from me! 

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