What Is NeuroEducation and Why Should You Care?
Dec 6, 2014 Teaching Methodology 2935 Views
In recent years the field of neuroscience has been applied to almost everything from the legal profession to sales and marketing.
Why? Because every human activity is a result of our thinking and the workings of our brain - and neuroscience expands our understanding of just that.
As well as determining how we think, make decisions and generally behave, our brains are obviously key to how we learn, so the more neuroscience uncovers about this, the more the growing field of "neuroeducation" emerges.
A New and Growing Field
Increasingly there are people around the world who recognise the limits of the present educational systems and are committed to transforming it, in the hope of better preparing a new generation for making valuable contributions to global progress.
Re-creating education is no easy task. Everywhere, old methods and practices are deeply set in. However, a recent study by the Wellcome Trust in the UK found that over ninety percent of teachers there claim to use neuroscience in the classroom.
Even though on closer inspection some of what we believe to be "neuroscience" is better termed "popular neuroscience", and is a somewhat twisted form of the original science, ninety percent is quite a figure; it shows just how much appetite there is amongst the teaching profession for introducing better learning methods.
Key to the approach of neuroeducation is leadership thinking. This is an area where neuroscience has had major input already. In many of our leading organisations, leadership has already seen the benefits of applying the findings of neuroscience: helping leaders to improve teamwork and decision-making, driving through organisational change, and enhancing performance at all levels.
When the latest mind science is applied to education it has the ability to enhance cognitive, emotional and behavioural skills, thereby unleashing the potential of the learner to be creative and autonomous in following what they believe in.
It can also enhance curriculum delivery, make learning outcomes more effective and improve the teaching effectiveness of educators. Essentially, it can be applied positively at all levels of the educational system.
Expanding the reach of neuroeducation around the globe effectively relies on specialists in neuroscience forming partnerships with schools and other educational institutions; together they are tasked with co-creating educational programs that enhance the learning experience and outcomes.
Doing this effectively involves sharing the findings of neuroscience with parents, teachers, schools and educational institutions and demonstrating how they can provide a new purpose to learning, where innovation, curiosity, passion, human relationships are valued as well as academic excellence.
A Framework for Neuroeducation
The frameworks used in the field of neuroeducation are similar to those used to enhance organisational performance, but adapted to the educational system.
Neuroeduction helps us to understand young learners better and, as such, educators need to be aware of all the cognitive needs of their students. A framework that addresses the following six needs of the young learner is a useful starting point:
- A secure, values-based learning environment that fosters group inclusion and learning
- An environment that supports innovation and creativity
- Inspiration to become focused and goal-orientated
- Development of superior emotional intelligence through effective and empathetic interpersonal connection
- Improvement in cognitive reasoning, analytical skills and memory
- Maximum ability for cognitively agility
Applied correctly, students and educators from kindergarten through to secondary school level benefit from enhanced self-control, increased innovation and productivity, better decision making, character development, improved attentiveness and significantly improved insight into self and others. Parents can also benefit by applying certain facets of neuroeducation in the home.