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Brain and Education Resources

Paul Grobstein
March 2007

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Are studies of the brain relevant to educational practices? And educational experiences relevant to further advances in understanding of the brain? Are "brain-based education", "neuroscience and education", and "neuroeducation" simply fads, or the beginnings of new and useful understandings, relevant in the classroom and beyond? If the brain is indeed "the repository of all that it is to be, and to experience being, human" then we are in some sense all both users and investigators of the brain - and a bridge, properly built, between neuroscience/cognitive science and education is obviously of potential benefit to both. The materials here are intended to provide resources for the continuing development of such a bridge (an earlier version of this page has been archived here).

Suggestions for additions to these materials are welcome, and there is an on-line forum for continuing discussion of issues related to the brain and education.

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Meeting Announcement
Learning and Brain:
Where Are We and Where Do We Need to Be?

The first of a continuing series of workshops and discussions on this topic, sponsored by the Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy, is being held in Aurora, Illinois on 20 October 2007. For further information see announcement/program and beginning thoughts.

Issues and Perspectives

Educationalists are becoming increasingly aware of the advances in understanding that neuroscience is making, and are looking for insights to improve their practice ... enthusiasts have over-simplified neuroscientific research and over-interpreted its findings, generating a number of 'neuromyths' in the process ... John Hall

Neuroscience has advanced to the point where it is time to think critically about the form in which research information is made available to educators so that it is interpreted appropriately for practice ... How People Learn: Brain, Mind, Experience, and School

Fad or foundation, which will it be? The choice is ours ... Pat Wolfe

Education is not just a matter of optimizing mechanisms around traditional routes to learning. It is a matter of asking whether we are setting the correct goals for one to achieve in education ... you have to not just consider the improvements in methodology that might come out of neuroscience, but whether we need to be addressing the questions of what we want education to achieve ... Colin Blakemore

Brains have evolved as active information-gathering devices: they simultaneously act and make predictions about the consequences of their actions based on internal models. In its most fundamental sense, learning occurs when the observed consequences of actions are inconsistent with the predictions of the models, and so require change ... The educational task is to sustain and make use of this intrinsic capability rather than to suppress it ... Paul Grobstein et al

There must be features of classroom practice that exploit aspects of the brain that cognitive science and neuroscience have not yet properly documented, but that teachers know all about ... Colin Blakemore

A variety of significant developments in science and technology are now emerging that could spark an extended career-long research agenda for imaginative educators ... Robert Sylwester

Looking to the future, we should attempt to develop an interactive, recursive relationship among research programs in education, cognitive psychology, and systems neuroscience ... John T. Bruer

Scientists sometimes argue that relating biology to education is premature: They say that science first needs to answer the deep questions about how the mind/brain works. To the contrary, we affirm that research in educational settings will shape the great discoveries to come concerning basic biological and cognitive processes in learning and development. Research in practice settings is essential for the field of mind, brain, and education ... Kurt Fischer et al.

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