Good read: Neuroskeptic on Jo Boaler “Your Brain on Maths: Educational Neurononsense Revisited”

Does our brain grow because of math? Well, it’s a claim that Jo Boaler has made a couple of times.


Or her recent BETT-talk:

And while Greg Ashman already debunked quite a lot in his reaction, Neuroskeptic just published a blog post examining the different claims and it shows that a math professor isn’t necessarily a brain expert.

Neuroskeptic’s conclusion is clear, but do read the rest of the post to know what led to this conclusion:

I’m not criticizing Boaler’s educational ideas, and I certainly don’t take a side in the US ‘math wars‘ which apparently forms the context for the debate over Boaler and her work. But in my view her use of neuroscience is misguided. Neuroscience is nowhere near advanced enough to tell us that a certain teaching approach is better than another.

Children doing well in maths is a behaviour, and if we want to find the best way to modify a behaviour, neuroscience is no substitute for studying that behaviour. In this case, we could try randomized controlled trials of different approaches to teaching. This will tell us more than any amount of EEG data.

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