Teachers urge use of neuroscience findings

Oct. 31, 2007 at 3:41 PM
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BRISTOL, England, Oct. 31 (UPI) -- Almost 90 percent of British schoolteachers say it's important to incorporate research about the biology of learning into educational programs.

Professors Sue Pickering and Paul Howard-Jones at Bristol University said they will use the survey results in a series of seminars, during which teachers and neuroscientists will discuss the contributions of research to educational practice.

The teachers surveyed said they thought both mainstream and special educational teaching could benefit from findings emerging from the neurosciences, such as functional magnetic resonance imaging.

The researchers also found some teachers use newer instructional methods promoted as being based on science, when, in fact, the methods have not been investigated scientifically. Those include techniques called visual, auditory or kinesthetic learning that are directed toward children based on what is believed to be their preferred learning styles.

"Much of what teachers perceive as brain-based teaching -- such as educational kinesiology -- is promoted in very dubious pseudo-scientific terms and we still don't really know how, and even if, it works," said Howard-Jones.

The research appears in the journal Mind, Brain and Education.

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