How the brain works

The CEN has written a resource which gives an overview of how the brain works, for a general reader.

It is intended to give a gist of the brain’s principles of function. It covers the brain’s evolutionary origin, how it develops, and how it copes in the modern world. And it explains the bits that don’t make sense in psychology.


What do we mean ‘the bits that don’t make sense in psychology’? Well, the discipline of psychology studies the mind. It can tell us a lot about what’s going on inside children’s heads when they learn in the classroom. For teachers, this is useful to know for everyday practice (And below we suggest some recent books ideal for that sort of understanding). However, there are things about how the mind works that are quite surprising and they come about because of the way the brain works. Understanding how the brain works can give us new insights into the mind that go beyond current psychology. It can show us why the human brain should need education to think in certain ways.

Here’s what teachers might read to get a purely psychological viewpoint:

Here’s what awaits you if you read our resource!


(Note: our resource is not intended as an introduction to cognitive neuroscience or neuroanatomy! Here are some good books for that: Ward, Mareschal Butterworth Tolmie.)