Teachers are dedicated people, who devote not just their days to their students, but often their evenings, nights and weekends too. In all the effort to stay on top of day-to-day planning, preparing, assessment and reflection, it is difficult to stay on top of the research, and tempting to try the latest trend to engage students and improve their learning outcomes. But not all that glitters is gold…

This article succinctly and clearly lays out the evidence regarding three pervasive¬†“neuromyths” that exist in the educational domain: that particular exercises can improve neural networks (e.g. Brain Gym), that catering to perceived learning styles is helpful, and that the brain has two distinct hemispheres with different functions. I hope it helps you to make informed and valuable decisions regarding the use of these strategies in your classroom. Perhaps there are better uses for your time, and that of your students.

The Misuse of Neuroscience in Schools

By Cristina Akiko Iizuka and Welber Marinovic, The University of Queensland

This article appeared in the Queensland Science Teacher 40.2 in February 2014.

With the advances in neuroscience knowledge over the last decades and the growing social interest in this field of research, neuro-motivated proposals on how to inform educational programs and approaches have become increasingly popular. As any new and aspiring research field, educational neuroscience has suffered to some extent from over-optimism and wishful thinking (Weigmann, 2013). Teachers and parents alike want children to strive and fulfil their potentials. It comes as no surprise, thus, that schools may feel the need to encourage teachers to employ the most updated knowledge available to make sure their students succeed. This push is motivated by a noble sentiment of duty towards the students and community, and is likely to be supported by most parents. Read more…