As educators, we spend our careers concerned with the inner machinations of children’s brains: how the brain works, when learning takes place, and how we can best effect student learning. It’s no wonder brain research is omnipresent in teacher materials and professional texts.
With that as the backdrop, it’s probably not a surprise that misinformation abounds. It seems every new educational product touts “brain-research” as the gold sticker selling point. Whether it’s the debunked theories about right or left-brain dominance or that women’s and men’s brains are structurally different leading one gender to outperform the other in certain content areas, distortions have continued to thrive. Is it any wonder that teachers are left confused?
Let’s consider what we largely know as true:
- Emotion affects learning
- Stress harms performance
- The brain, through neuroplasticity, molds learning
- Learning and memory are closely tied
Our next steps must include careful inspection into how we approach student learning, and an introspection of the strategies we employ, why we use them and when we use them. For a deeper dive, explore ASCD authors, Francis Bailey and Ken Pransky’s webinar.