Neuroscience's recent focus on facilitating lifelong learning has led to advances in the world of education. Schools, teachers and parents have the opportunity to reach out and understand learning like never before. Here are 10 ways neuroscience research can change education.
1 Better understanding of child development
A deeper incorporation of child development studies for preschool and elementary teachers can have a major impact on later success. The Center for Child Development maintains that many educators have misconceptions about early childhood education. Understanding what drives children to learn and how best to overcome early handicaps can have a major impact on learning success over the years. Adopting the information provided by neuroscience can close that gap in understanding.
2.Adapting classes to facilitate learning
Many schools are already changing their programs and routines to benefit student progress. One small change that the CDC recommended, in a 2015 article on Smithsonian.com, was to delay start times. Research has shown that just 30 more minutes of sleep can greatly improve cognitive function and alertness in class.
3.Learning gap for optimal absorption
Another important change that school districts can make, according to neuroscience, is to allow students to choose from a diverse course guide and space lessons over time. The space effect basically says that learning complicated ideas over time, rather than all at once, improves understanding and the creation of new neurons. Teachers can divert this knowledge into the development and improvement of the curriculum.
The use of cognitive tutoring in students struggling with math is a breakthrough for educators. Since up to 20% of people have some form of math learning disability, improving the way math is processed and understood is critical to success.
5.Orientation of rewarding learning styles
In The Social Neuroscience of Education, Louis Cozolino talks about things educators need to know about the brain. A main point is that students need repetition and varied approaches to get the most out of learning. This means that games, group activities, physical lessons, and unconscious learning can all have a place in the classroom. A 2016 e-learning article focuses on varied lessons and student breaks to improve performance. This resource suggests incorporating physical activity and peer study into your daily lessons.
6.Incorporation of social activities
As discussed in Greater Good magazine's March 2011 article, More Friends, Bigger Brain, humans are social beings. Incorporating and focusing on social activities and assigning connections in the classroom can help enable learning. This is a small change that teachers can use in class to help students reach their potential.
7. Integrating technology in the classroom
Investigating our brains and how we learn continually provides possible technological improvements for teachers. Options for learning apps and software to engage students, adequately space learning, and develop student brains are growing every day. Understanding the basics of how to use these products to positively influence learning in the classroom is essential.
8.Increased brain capacity through learning
In a December 2012 article, Dr. Mercola discusses the brain plasticity policy of using it or losing it. The basic idea is that continuing education will slow the rate of decline in our brains as we age. This means that educational institutes should encourage continuous learning, throughout life, to inform a healthy community.
9.Improved focus with autistic students
Neuroscience is helping to diagnose children with autism and Asperger's syndrome from 18 months of age. The Cambridge Neuroscience department has even developed an animated DVD to help young children learn about emotions. A 2013 KappanMagazine.com article noted that specialized programs driven by scientific research are helping to improve the way we teach children on the autism spectrum. For example, the Fast ForWord Language product test showed speech advancement of up to 1.5 years in children who underwent the program.
10 overcome learning difficulties
In the field of special education, neuroscience has especially interesting lessons. The link is examined in the July 2011 article inForum, Neuroscience and Special Education. The paper suggests that different approaches will benefit a dyslexic child versus a child with ADHD. Educators who take the time to apply scientific findings in class can see a marked difference in the way their students develop.
These 10 influences from neuroscience in the classroom and educators will continue to influence students for years to come. Research suggests that this is a positive connection that can fit into the education system and benefit society as a whole. There are still questions to be answered and trials to be done before some ideas can be more widely accepted. It is suggested for every educator to keep abreast of developments.