01 SES 03 B, Neuro-education Implications for Professional Development
Valid and accurate scientific information about the workings of the human brain is perhaps the key to unlocking many of hitherto unfathomable secrets of effective teaching and learning. However, despite the prolific and exponential output of neuroscience, currently it would seem that there are only extremely limited educational applications of neuroscience and that furthermore, as yet, many do not readily translate into day-to day classroom practice. Rather, the nascent discipline of educational neuroscience is grappling with the misappropriation of neuroscience that it contests is occurring within many international school systems (Hruby 2011; Ritchie, Chudler et al., 2012).
This misappropriation manifests itself as the adoption and practice of purportedly brain friendly pedagogical strategies, but which are theoretically underpinned by neuromyths (OECD, 2002). Neuromyths are misunderstandings and/or misinterpretations of neuroscientific research. Such contested neuro-pedagogical strategies are often immediately recognisable by their tautological label of “brain based”. Often collected together in commercially orientated CPD programmes and promoted by edu-preneurs upon the premise that the adoption of these purportedly brain compatible teaching methods will lead to the preferential state of faster, deeper and more expansive learning, it is perhaps unsurprising that the aims and claims of brain based resonate with educators across phases and continents. There is a concern within the field that harm may be being perpetrated by the implementation of brain based methodology and indeed that it is something to be resisted. In the literature, teachers themselves are held, in some degree, culpable for allowing this undesirable state of affairs to persist by failing to adopt a sufficiently critical approach to pedagogical innovations and having an inadequate knowledge base of basic brain science.
The phenomenon of brain based is to date, relatively uncharted in terms of peer reviewed research. What is clear that it is it not a phenomenon isolated to either the UK or the US: research appears to demonstrate that significant numbers of international teachers have an awareness of BBMs (Pickering and Howard-Jones, 2007; Howard-Jones et al., 2009) and many have reported using them finding them “useful”. Recent studies from across Europe (UK, Turkey, Greece and The Netherlands) and the US show that teachers have a belief in many of the main neuromyths (Alekno, 2012; Dekker et al., 2012) and possess multiple misconceptions about the brain (Deligiannidi & Howard-Jones, 2014; Karakus et al., 2014). However, Alekno paradoxically found that whilst teachers reported a strong belief in the efficacy of neuromyths, they reported that they did not always practice them. Whitehead (2011) observed that the impact of BBM on the classroom practice of teachers in a boy’s school in New Zealand was limited, despite it being part of a whole school literacy programme.
The limited empirical research that does exist, arguably is primarily quantitative in nature or utilises a mixed methods approach arguably resulting in ‘thin’ data and findings. More often than not there is an overreliance on the self-reporting of the respondents to reveal their actual practice of BBMs, where informant bias (Mercer, 2007) may operate and other than Whitehead, there appear to be no classroom observations for triangulation purposes. What arises from the literature is an unclear picture relating to the prevalence, practice and perceptions of teachers of brain based methodology. My research seeks to understand in depth, the factors that influence the prevalence, the practice and perception of BBMs which all secondary school teachers in one English Local Authority (LA) were taught about as part of an accredited CPD programme. My research will contribute to informing the current understanding of the phenomenon of brain based and also enable additional insights into teacher learning/CPD aimed at whole school improvement.
Alekno, S. M. (2012). Teachers Beliefs and Practices Regarding Neuromyths (PhD), Capella University. Cassell, C. (2011). Template Analysis. In R. Thorpe & R. Holt (Eds.), The Sage Dictionary of Qualitative Management Research (pp. 220-222). London: Sage. Cohen, L., Manion, L., & Morrison, K. (2007). Research Methods in Education (Sixth Edition ed.). Oxon: Routledge. Collis, J., & Hussey, R. (2003). Business Research: A Practical Guide For Undergraduate and Postgraduate Students. Basingstoke: Palgrave MacMillan. . Cordingley, P. (2012). The role of professional learning in deterrming the profession's future In McLaughlin (Ed.), Teachers Learning: Professional Development and Education (pp. 21-31). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Crabtree, B. F., & Miller, W. L. (1992). Doing qualitative research. London: Sage. Dekker, S., Lee, N. C., Howard-Jones, P. A., & Jolles, J. (2012). Neuromyths in education: Prevalence and predictors of misconceptions among teachers. Frontiers in Psychology, 3(OCT). Deligiannidi, K., & Howard-Jones, P. A. (2014). The neuroscience literacy of teachers in Greece, Paper presented at the International Conference on New Horizons, Paris. Howard-Jones, P., Franey, L., Mashmoushi, R., & Liao, Y.-C. (2009). The Neuroscience Literacy of Trainee Teachers. Paper presented at the British Educational Research Association Annual Conference, University of Manchester. http://22.214.171.124/~neuro647/wp-content/uploads/2012/03/Literacy.pdf Hruby, G. (2011). Minding the Brain. Journal of Adolescent & Adult Literacy, 54(5), 316-321. Karakus, O., Howard-Jones, P. A., & Jay, T. M. H. (2014). Primary and Secondary School Teachers’ Knowledge and Misconceptions about the Brain in Turkey. Paper presented at the International Conference on New Horizons, Paris. King, N. (1998). Template analysis In G. Symon & C. Cassell (Eds.), Qualitative Methods and Analysis in Organizational Research: A Practical Guide (pp. 118-134). London: Sage. King, N., & Horrocks, C. (2010). Interviews in Qualitative Research. London: Sage. Mercer, J. (2007). The challenges of insider research in educational institutions: wielding a double‐edged sword and resolving delicate dilemmas. Oxford Review of Education, 33(1), 1-17. doi: 10.1080/03054980601094651 OECD. (2002). Understanding the Brain: Towards a New Learning Science. Paris: OECD. Pickering, S. J., & Howard-Jones, P. (2007). Educators' Views on the Role of Neuroscience in Education: Findings From a Study of UK and International Perspectives. Mind, Brain and Education, 1(3). Ritchie, S. J., Chudler, E. H., & Della Sala, S. (2012). Don't try this at school: The attraction of 'alterative' educational techniques In S. Della Sala & M. Andersen (Eds.), Neuroscience: The good, the bad and the ugly. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Whitehead, D. (2011). Can neuroscience construct a literate gendered culture? [Article]. English Teaching: Practice & Critique, 10(2), 78-87.
- Search for keywords and phrases in "Text Search"
- Restrict in which part of the abstracts to search in "Where to search"
- Search for authors and in the respective field.
- For planning your conference attendance you may want to use the conference app, which will be issued some weeks before the conference
- If you are a session chair, best look up your chairing duties in the conference system (Conftool) or the app.