Can neuroscience solve the mystery of how students learn?

Jul 12, 2015 by

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Educational neuroscience burst onto the scene with the hope of explaining how we learn. But the jury is still out on whether it’s useful for classroom practice

No one knows how much knowledge students take home with them after a day at school. Tests, homework and inspections give a snapshot of learning but ultimately it’s something that you cannot see; it’s invisible and personal.

The educational researcher Graham Nuthall spent 40 years trying to understand how we learn. He wired classrooms in New Zealand for sound, installed video cameras, sat in on lessons and interviewed hundreds of students. But despite crunching mountains of data, he was not able to draw any conclusions.

In recent years, a new field of enquiry has burst onto the scene with the hope of finally unlocking the secret of how learning takes place. It’s been referred to as educational neuroscience, neuroeducation and mind, brain and education.

This approach has been explored by scientists at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, US, who conducted a study last year. They taught students about the inner workings of household objects in a physics lesson which took place inside an fMRI (functional magnetic resonance imaging) brain scanner.

Source: Can neuroscience solve the mystery of how students learn? | Teacher Network | The Guardian

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