Neuroscience And Teaching: What Teachers Need To Know About "Education Neuroscience"

Neuroscience is the study of the brain and how it words on a molecular and physical level. It's emerged as a fascinating area, primarilly because we now have brain scanning technology that tells a lot about what happens in the brain in various situations. Education Neuroscience is an extension of this, trying to take information about how brains work on a physiological level, and base teaching techniques upon that knowlege.

But It's Not Simple To Apply Neuroscience to Better Teaching

There are a lot of problems attached to coming up with practical advice for teachers based on brain functions. As you'll see in the references below, opinions are splite about whether teachers should be learning more about brain functions.

  • The science is so new, and oriented towards PURE research rather than applied research, so often the research while fascinating has NO current easy application.
  • Because we live in a marketing society, all kinds of claims have emerged from companies stating their products are about "brain based learning", when in fact, the premises they are based on are wrong, inaccurate, thus making the techniques worthless in the classroom.
  • Neuromyths are beliefs about the brain and how it works that have little if no scientific verification, or have actually been disproved. Unfortunately, one concern is that teachers will believe these "conclusions" and try to use them in the classroom, when in fact they are false. A little knowledge, in complex fields is often a bad thing.

Conclusion About Application Of Neuroscience To Teaching

At this point the field is not developed enough to yield practical teaching and learning strategies for teachers and curriculum developers. This may change in the future. Right now, it's teacher beware, particularly of charlatans trying to capitalize on our love of science, and our fascination with how brains work.

But draw your own conclusions. Below you'll find an amazing collection of articles and information about the meeting of brain science and classroom practice.

Top : Neuroscience And Teaching - Education Neuroscience : Page 2 :

The fastest growing science, neuroscience, and it's application to teaching (education neuroscience) has potential to help teachers teach more effectively and understand how students learn. But it's not that simple. In this section we'll look at if neuroscience can aid teachers, pitfalls, and myths.

Essential Readings In Applying Neuroscience To Improve Teaching, Current Flaws and Pitfalls

Neuroscience And Teaching - Education Neuroscience

Journal Article: Brain-(not) Based Education: Dangers of Misunderstanding and Misapplication of Neuroscience Research - by Larry A. Alferink
Oversimplification or inappropriate interpretation of complex neuroscience research is widespread among curricula claiming that brain-based approaches are effective for improved learning and retention. We examine recent curricula claiming to be based on neuroscience research, discuss the implications of such misinterpretation for special education, how neuroscience actually supports many traditional teaching methods, and suggest ways to foster more accurate understanding of neuroscience research and its potential for application in the special education classroom. (Views So Far 333 )

Journal Article: Neuromyths in Education: Prevalence and Predictors of Misconceptions among Teachers - by Sanne Dekker et al
Startling results on neuromyths and how teachers believe incorrect information about how the brain works. A study from Frontiers In Psychology Journal on an OECD study. (Views So Far 296 )

Multimillion-Pound Brain Fund Set Up To Stop Teachers Buying Into Neuroscience Myths - by Brid-Aine Parnell
Teachers are buying into pseudo-science about the brain that one English organization is allocating a large amount of money to educate teachers on the myths they may be acting upon. (Views So Far 369 )

Neuroscience and Education: Issues and Opportunities - by Economic and Social Research Council
Great 28 page report on issues related to using neuroscience to improve instruction. A good starting point for teachers just starting to get interested in the application of brain research for better instruction. (Views So Far 360 )

Questions to Neuroscientists from Educators - by Dee Dickinson
Brain research so far, as previously noted, has most often been used by educators to make a case for what they would like to do or are already doing. It is high time for educators to ask neuroscientists for information that can help them to better understand their students and the learning process. The Krasnow Institute is offering a wonderful opportunity to do so. We desperately need guidance in meeting many new kinds of challenges, and need to make sure we do not misinterpret the findings or apply them inappropriately. It would also be helpful if neuroscientists in partnership with teachers could observe firsthand how their the results of their studies affect educational planning and practice. Although help regarding pressing problems must clearly come from many different sources, what guidance do you think brain research may offer brain in regard to the following specific challenges? (Views So Far 315 )

Research Paper: Neuroscience for Educators: What Are They Seeking, and What Are They Finding? - by Cayce J. Hook and Martha J. Farah
What can neuroscience offer to educators? Much of the debate has focused on whether basic research on the brain can translate into direct applications within the classroom. Accompanying ethical concern has centered on whether neuroeducation has made empty promises to educators. Relatively little investigation has been made into educators' expectations regarding neuroscience research and how they might find it professionally useful. In order to address this question, we conducted semi-structured interviews with 13 educators who were repeat attendees of the Learning & the Brain conferences. Responses suggest that 'brain based' pedagogical strategies are not all that is sought; indeed, respondents were more often drawn to the conference out of curiosity about the brain than a desire to gain new teaching methods. Of those who reported that research had influenced their classroom practice, most did not distinguish between neuroscience and cognitive psychology. (Views So Far 317 )


Specific Topics (4)
As we develop this category on the application of neuroscience to teaching and education, we'll be adding more reference material on specific topics within neuroscience, and organizing them by subject. As our collection grows we'll create new categories, on topics like "brain differences" between genders, or "applying neuroscience to teaching math.
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