Must read by Dorothy Bischop: What is educational neuroscience?

Although maybe already a bit on the decline, neuroscience is still hot in education. This blogpost by Dorothy Bischop on Educational neuroscience is a mustread for anyone thinking brain science is the way to go for education (and who might be losing the much needed perspective):

“But at the heart of this enterprise, there seems to be a massive disconnect. Neuroscientists can tell you which brain regions are most involved in particular cognitive activities and how this changes with age or training. But these indicators of learning do not tell you how to achieve learning. Suppose I find out that the left angular gyrus becomes more active as children learn to read. What is a teacher supposed to do with that information?

As John Bruer pointed out back in 1997, the people who can be useful to teachers are psychologists. Psychological experiments can establish the cognitive underpinnings of skills such as reading, and can evaluate which are the most effective ways of teaching, and whether these differ from child to child. They can address questions such as whether there are optimal ages at which to teach different skills, how motivation and learning interact, and whether it is better to learn material in large chunks all at once or spaced out over intervals. At a trivial level, these could all be designated as aspects of ‘educational neuroscience’, insofar as the brain is necessarily involved in cognition and motivation. But they can all be studied without taking any measurements of brain function.”

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