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Center for Teaching Excellence

  • College Student Thinking

What's Going on In That Head of Yours?: Oktoberbest 2012 Opening Session:


In this workshop, Robert Duke explains that changes in the functional capacities of learners are visible manifestations of changes in the physical structure of the brain. Although we seldom think of learning experiences as brain-reorganization activities, they most certainly are precisely that. This session considers how to design learning experiences that lead to advantageous changes in cognition, affect and behavior, all of which are components of expertise in every discipline.

About the Facilitator

Robert Duke is the Marlene and Morton Meyerson Centennial Professor and Head of Music and Human Learning at The University of Texas at Austin, where he is University Distinguished Teaching Professor, Elizabeth Shatto Massey Distinguished Fellow in Teacher Education, and Director of the Center for Music Learning. He is also an advisor to the Psychology of Learning Program at the Colburn Conservatory in Los Angeles. The most recent recipient of MENC's Senior Researcher Award, Dr. Duke has directed national research efforts under the sponsorship of such organizations as the National Piano Foundation and the International Suzuki Institute. His research on human learning and behavior spans multiple disciplines, including motor skill learning, cognitive psychology, and neuroscience. His most recent work explores procedural memory consolidation and the cognitive processes engaged during musical improvisation.

A former studio musician and public school music teacher, he has worked closely with children at-risk, both in the public schools and through the juvenile justice system. He is the author of Scribe 4 behavior analysis software, and his most recent books are Intelligent Music Teaching: Essays on the Core Principles of Effective Instruction and The Habits of Musicianship, which he co-authored with Jim Byo of Louisiana State University.


"I was expecting something a little more detailed on the physiological processes of memory consolidation and storage, but I was nonetheless pleased with his representation of the subject matter. The two things I took away were that engaging the mind has to do with challenging it and that knowledge is nothing more than an annoying way to show off if that knowledge is not functionally valuable, even if the function is merely for personal growth." – Biology

Challenge the conventional. Create the exceptional. No Limits.