Gradually, an important and growing evidence of the impact of understanding neuroscience in terms of learning and education has started to inform pedagogy, along with a better appreciation of how we learn. Yet, there is a lot of confusion and misunderstanding to what neuroscience science is, and many within the education sector would struggle to explain the principles, science and research to recognise how the brain processes information. Fundamentally, neuroscience literally means the -˜science of the nervous system', making use of the principles and many techniques from the main science disciplines of physics, chemistry and biology.
Trying to connect research in neuroscience with education, Richard Churches, Eleanor Dommett and Ian Devonshire have compiled an easily digestible book that explores the principles and exploration of how teaching practice can have a positive improvement and consideration of how we all learn, being especially informative to the education sector, that can help students develop strategies, habits and environments that encourage sustained learning. In their book, “Neuroscience for Teachers - Applying research evidence from brain science”, the authors explore some of the compelling and informative science that is starting to connect education with neuroscience, explaining how attention, learning and memory impact on building knowledge in students. Making connections with previous learning, along with an understanding of the (4) different types of attention (from a neuroscience perspective) along with understanding inattentional blindness, the book guides educators to become aware of how the brain works, and what strategies can be used to support learning with all students.
Sustaining attention and the use of working memory in the classroom is also given attention in the book, combining respected theories developed by Bandura and Vygotsky (for example), but also linking more recent research projects (such as the study completed by Dikker et.al, and reported at https://ukedchat.com/2017/04/28/students-brains-sync/
), that suggested that certain types of engagement between teachers and pupils sets up a -˜scaffold' for social interaction and more engagement. The book continues by offering reflection activities for the reader, considering neurological strategies evident in practice, but also guiding lesson structures that could improve the potential for remembering. Research Zones are scattered throughout the book, offering a reference point to the ideas, strategies and the science showcased throughout. Notably, reference is given towards metacognition, with a fascinating exploration underscoring the basis of metacognition from a neuroscience perspective.
As educators will recognise, the impact of emotions and mood can play a crucial part to learning, and the factors affecting mood and emotions are considered within the book with attention given to how teachers can manipulate mood in the classroom positively.
Ultimately, understanding the individuals who enter our classroom environments is central in what neuroscience can tell us about different abilities, but many teachers teach adolescents, and their brains undergo significant changes during this sensitive stage of life. Again, neuroscience is there to help explain peer pressure, the importance of being liked and interpreting emotional outbursts.
The book concludes by noting that any pedagogy based on neuroscience will need to be trialled in different subject areas, in different school contexts, and with different groups of children. There is no quick-fix silver bullet, but teacher-led research programmes using controlled research designs and collaborations could advance teaching as an evidence-enriched profession. A handy template of cognitive psychology themes is offered that could be worth considering as a subject for a research project. So, if you're an educator who is interested in neuroscience and possibly considering implementing a research element to your teaching practice, then this book makes a great starting and reference point to progress your curiosity.
Everyone is curious about the brain including your learners! Not only can knowing more about the brain be a powerful way to understand what happens when your pupils and, of course, you pick up new knowledge and skills, but it can also offer a theoretical basis for established or new classroom practice. And as the field of neuroscience uncovers more of nature s secrets about the way we learn and further augments what we already know about effective teaching this book advocates more efficient pedagogies rooted in a better understanding and application of neuroscience in education.
By surveying a wide range of evidence in specific areas such as metacognition, memory, mood and motivation, the teenage brain and how to cater for individual differences, -˜Neuroscience for Teachers' shares relevant, up-to-date information to provide a suitable bridge for teachers to transfer the untapped potential of neuroscientific findings into practical classroom approaches. The key issues, challenges and research are explained in clear language that doesn t assume a prior level of knowledge on the topic that would otherwise make it inaccessible therefore enabling more teachers to better comprehend the lessons from neuroscience while the authors also take care to expose the ways in which neuromyths can arise in education in order to help them avoid these pitfalls.
Laid out in an easy-to-use format, each chapter features: Research Zones highlighting particular pieces of research with a supplementary insight into the area being explored; Reflection sections that give you something to think about, or suggest something you might try out in the classroom; and concluding Next steps that outline how teachers might incorporate the findings into their own practice. The authors have also included a glossary of terms covering the book s technical vocabulary to aid the development of teachers literacy in the field of neuroscience.
Packed with examples and research-informed tips on how to enhance personal effectiveness and improve classroom delivery, -˜Neuroscience for Teachers' provides accessible, practical guidance supported by the latest research evidence on the things that will help your learners to learn better.
Suitable for LSAs, NQTs, teachers, middle leaders, local authority advisers and anyone working with learners.
1. Neuroscience in the classroom principles and practice: getting started
2. Learning and remembering: attention, learning and memory
3. Metacognition: why it pays to teach your pupils how to think about how they think
4. Emotions and learning: classroom climate, stress and motivation
5. The individual in the classroom: what neuroscience can tell us about different abilities and some special educational needs in the classroom
6. The adolescent brain: why teenagers behave like teenagers
7. Surprises from cognitive psychology and neuroscience: why making things more difficult and less enjoyable for students in the short term can enhance long-term learning
8. Concluding remarks: developing your scientific literacy and understanding of controlled research