Neuroscience and Education 


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As our understanding of neuroscience and the developing brain continues to grow, there is a worldwide move to use this information to inform educational practice. Dr Hohnen has developed a model which attempts to draw together several convergent but complementary ideas in neuroscience to produce a model outlining the optimum context for a child to learn in a classroom.  Dr Hohnen and Dr Murphy outline the following key points in their journal paper:

  • A general outline of brain development is presented, highlighting key areas of brain functioning and cell connection.
  • The positive cycle of learning shows how brain circuits are formed which require the child to be engaged in ‘doing’ a task.
  • Two key situations which mitigate against a child entering the positive cycle of learning are highlighted: where the child is stressed, and where they are not at their achievable challenge level. Both situations might emphasise activity in the midbrain, which is believed to reduce connections to the forebrain (primarily considered the “thinking brain”, essential for learning).
  • The importance of a student’s beliefs and mindset are also described which are strong contributors to learning behaviour.
  • The importance of maintaining a developmental perspective within education is outlined, given what is known about the significant changes that take place during adolescence in terms of brain reorganisation.

Dr Hohnen is available to present and discuss these ideas and findings to teaching staff.