Neuroprogressive education

This is a great paragraph:

“Its relationship to learning is therefore similar to the relationship of DNA to genetics. We already knew about genetics when the precise means of the transmission of genes – DNA – was discovered, just like we already knew that people can learn new things – that taxi drivers can build up complex mental models of a cityscape – before we knew whether this results in physical changes to the brain.”

Filling the pail

I have noticed a trend towards invoking neuroscience to argue for student-centred or progressive forms of education. I won’t point to particular articles here but you’ll find them easily enough if you are interested. They follow a certain pattern:

1. The author argues that neuroscience heralds an imminent revolution in the way we view education.

2. The author highlights unremarkable findings such as the fact that it’s possible for the brain to learn new things or that learning can be affected by emotional states; findings that are either trivial or well known through cognitive science research.

3. The author concludes that these findings imply the need for naturalistic learning through contexts, student choice over what and when to learn, catering to individual student differences and an end to traditional forms of education based upon a 19th century factory model.

Take ‘neuroplasticity’, for instance. This simply means the ability of the…

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