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What can neuroscience teach us about teaching?

Author William O'Connor
Abstract The study of perception, learning, memory and recall are converging to unite education with neuroscience - the scientific study of the nervous system- around the emerging field of neuroeducation. In this regard, there has been a plethora of scientific findings of educational relevance (such as plasticity, imitation, attention and the role of factors such as exercise, sleep and stress). Recent brain research shows that different circuits are called upon in the brain for different activities such as math, music and reading. In addition, learning and practicing particular skills can cause corresponding areas in the brain to grow or change by adding a tiny fraction of the brain's neural circuitry and eliminating old ones. Imaging technologies are helping map the circuits and study variability among children with learning difficulties. Moreover, recent research is providing insight into attention systems in the brain and is shedding light on how we plan, initiate, organize, and most importantly, inhibit certain behaviours. This paper contributes to this dialogue by summarising what we already know about the learning process in the brain and suggests how it might inform the teaching/learning process in the classroom.
Keywords Neuroeducation, Neurodevelopment, Neuroplasticity, Teaching, Learning, Dyslexia, ADHD.
Published In ICEP Proceedings 2010
Date 2010
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