Brain Science – Impact for Educators

Here’s an interesting video from TedXBoston;

Watching it got me thinking about how the ‘learning industry (what education should be) is going to need to recalibrate and rethink how it does what it does. Of course, those who are more focused on teaching than learning won’t feel the need to take any notice of this stuff for at least 20 years!

A big part of what goes on in classrooms, especially at the lower levels of Bloom’s Taxonomy of learning is totally tied to how we remember things, how the brain marshals and organises memories and how those memories are achieved (especially when undergoing summative assessments). Science is potentially getting closer to an ability to enable people to organise their memories/ learning in a wilful, deliberate way. This would eliminate a big part of the ‘chance’ element about which students succeed and which fail in the memorising game of school.

Of course, there are many moral and ethical debates that will come up related to this stuff, but i believe there are already ethical issues about education systems that label people for future success on the random chance of whether their brain’s ‘wiring’ happens to work well or badly with the one-size-fits-all delivery of learning material in schools.

Interesting times.


2 Responses

  1. Two phrases that struck me were- ‘..cross-section of a memory in hippocampus..’ and ‘ ..mind with its assumingly mysterious properties is made of physical stuff that we can tinker with…’. Education is one field that would definitly undergo unimaginable changes (all positive, because I doubt it can get any worse that it is already) if this kind of research continues further to explore all possibilities. Thanks for sharing.. Date: Fri, 2 Aug 2013 09:47:47 +0000 To:

  2. Frankly this video really brought back the memories of a recent course I completed as part of my MSED, understanding human brain is complex and fascinating experience. The most interesting aspect is that teachers have been teaching brains they have not understood. And according to the neuroscientists all learning takes place in the brain. So what are the implications of this research on us educators and our practices? The teachers need to know about what is happening in this field, schools need to invest in helping teachers update their knowledge and upgrade their skills in order to help the students learn, attain 21st century skills and most importantly understand – How our brain works? How it learns? How it does not learn some things? and How some things are never forgotten?
    Brain research can facilitate a shift in focus from teaching to learning…
    It also brings to the fore how the general findings of neuroscience can help us teachers to make informed decisions. To help us understand that learning is all about making connections between thousands of neurons, how we can our help students form that synaptic clutch which will strengthen the connections and enhance their learning.
    We need to understand that the more we activate a connection, the more we increase the potential … to fire again – increase its effect.
    Bottom line…. We need to pay attention… We need to strengthen those positive connections.
    We must understand that our BRAIN IS SCULPTED THROUGH OUR EXPERIENCES…. THAT IS WHY IT IS UNIQUE … hence the entire environment in the classroom, right from
    – Teacher’s Stance
    -Teacher’s Voice
    – Class Ambience
    -Lack of Threat
    -Hands on Activity
    – Creating Meaningful Patterns

    impacts our students brain. In fact we can design RAD Instructional Plan.
    R stands for Reticular Activation- creating positive and novel atmosphere
    A stands for Amygdala -creating a safe and stress free environment for students to work collaboratively to accomplish desired goal/ intended outcomes.
    D stands for Dopamine which if released will have students get a feeling of pleasure from the activity, enhance synaptic clutches and readies the brain for learning and retention.
    It is that simple…But have we considered how to integrate this into the teaching – learning process of our schools?
    What are your thoughts on this ?

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