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5 Brainy Books for Exploring School Discipline through a New Lens

5 Brainy Books for Exploring School Discipline through a New Lens

Approaching school discipline through a preventative brain-aligned approach has been a goal of mine (and countless others) for years! In nearly every school I visit, I hear stories that reflect my lived experience as a school social worker feeling frustrated by the reactive approach to student behavior in which I found myself practicing. Of course I would prefer to be doing preventative work, engaging with students, teachers, and families before behaviors escalate but my reality felt more like putting out fires everywhere I turned without ever working on finding and addressing the source of said fires. Learning how to transition out of a punitive, reactive system felt impossible and overwhelming. The 5 books below give me hope, science, and strategies to be a part of the change! Check them out!


5 Brainy Books for Exploring School Discipline through a New Lens

By Zaretta L. Hammond 

A bold, brain based teaching approach to culturally responsive instruction

To close the achievement gap, diverse classrooms need a proven framework for optimizing student engagement. Culturally responsive instruction has shown promise, but many teachers have struggled with its implementation―until now. 

In this book, Zaretta Hammond draws on cutting edge neuroscience research to offer an innovative approach for designing and implementing brain compatible culturally responsive instruction.

 The book includes: 

  • Information on how one’s culture programs the brain to process data and affects learning relationships

  • Ten “key moves” to build students’ learner operating systems and prepare them to become independent learners

  • Prompts for action and valuable self reflection

5 Brainy Books for Exploring School Discipline through a New Lens

5 Brainy Books for Exploring School Discipline through a New Lens

By Bruce D. Perry

In this classic work of developmental psychology, renowned psychiatrist and the co-author of the #1 New York Times bestseller What Happened to You? reveals how trauma affects children—and outlines the path to recovery.

“Fascinating and upbeat…. Dr. Perry is both a world-class creative scientist and a compassionate therapist.” –Mary Pipher, PhD, author of Reviving Ophelia

How does trauma affect a child’s mind—and how can that mind recover?

Child psychiatrist Dr. Bruce D. Perry has helped children faced with unimaginable horror: genocide survivors, murder witnesses, kidnapped teenagers, and victims of family violence. In the classic The Boy Who Was Raised as a Dog, Dr. Perry tells their stories of trauma and transformation and shares their lessons of courage, humanity, and hope. Deftly combining unforgettable case histories with his own compassionate, insightful strategies for rehabilitation, Perry explains what happens to children’s brain when they are exposed to extreme stress—and reveals the unexpected measures that can be taken to ease such pain and help them grow into healthy adults. Only when we understand the science of the mind and the power of love and nurturing can we hope to heal the spirit of even the most wounded child.


5 Brainy Books for Exploring School Discipline through a New Lens

By Lori L DeSautels

The developing brains of our children need to “feel” safe. 

Children who carry chronic behavioral challenges are often met with reactive and punitive practices that can potentially reactivate the developing stress response systems. 

This book deeply addresses the need for co-regulatory  and relational touch point practices, shifting student-focused behavior management protocols to adult regulated brain and body states which are brain aligned, preventive, and relational discipline protocols. This new lens for discipline benefits all students by reaching for sustainable behavioral changes through brain state awareness rather than compliance and obedience. 


5 Brainy Books for Exploring School Discipline through a New Lens

By Ross W. Greene

From the renowned authority on education and parenting, “an in-depth approach to aid parents and teachers to work together with behaviorally challenging students” (Publishers Weekly)—now revised and updated.


School discipline is broken. Too often, the kids who need our help the most are viewed as disrespectful, out of control, and beyond help, and are often the recipients of our most ineffective, most punitive interventions. These students—and their parents, teachers, and administrators—are frustrated and desperate for answers.


Dr. Ross W. Greene, author of the acclaimed book The Explosive Child, offers educators and parents a different framework for understanding challenging behavior. Dr. Greene’s Collaborative & Proactive Solutions (CPS) approach helps adults focus on the true factors contributing to challenging classroom behaviors, empowering educators to address these factors and create helping relationships with their most at-risk kids.


This revised and updated edition of Lost at School contains the latest refinements to Dr. Greene’s CPS model, including enhanced methods for solving problems collaboratively, improving communication, and building relationships with kids.


Dr. Greene’s lively, compelling narrative includes:

  • Tools to identify the problems and lagging skills causing challenging behavior

  • Explicit guidance on how to radically improve interactions with challenging kids and reduce challenging episodes—along with many examples showing how it’s done

  • Practical guidance for successful planning and collaboration among educators, parents, and kids


Backed by years of experience and research and written with a powerful sense of hope and achievable change, Lost at School gives teachers and parents the realistic strategies and information to impact the classroom experience of every challenging kid (and their classmates).


5 Brainy Books for Exploring School Discipline through a New Lens

By: Deb Dana

A practical guide to working with the principles of polyvagal theory beyond the therapy session.

Deb Dana is the foremost translator of polyvagal theory into clinical practice. Here, in her third book on this groundbreaking theory, she provides therapists with a grab bag of polyvagal-informed exercises for their clients, to use both within and between sessions.

These exercises offer readily understandable explanations of the ways the autonomic nervous system directs daily living. They use the principles of polyvagal theory to guide clients to safely connect to their autonomic responses and navigate daily experiences in new ways. The exercises are designed to be introduced over time in a variety of clinical sessions with accompanying exercises appropriate for use by clients between sessions to enhance the therapeutic change process.

Essential reading for any therapist who wants to take their polyvagal knowledge to the next level and is looking for easy ways to deliver polyvagal solutions with their clients.



Some of these books I am just now discovering and reading while some I’ve had for years and have read and reread picking up something new every single time! Creating a safe learning space for our students and teachers is imperative to student success and I’m grateful for the authors who are giving us the tools to do it! What books have I missed? Let me know and I’ll be sure to add them to my list of must reads!!


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