Brains. We all have them, and they play a rather significant role in learning and education. The last two decades of research on the brain has created countless awakenings in the field of education (not to mention dozens of other fields), awakenings to the resilience of the human brain, how our understanding of the brain can inform teaching and learning, what motivates us, bores us, engages us, and helps us remember. Mind-brain education has become a means of connecting diverse learning theories from the past several hundred years, dispelling myths, affirming age-old convictions about learning, and providing fascinating explanations about why and how we learn. There is still much that we do not know, but there is now a substantive enough body of neuroscience literature that a growing number of scholars are confident using some of this research to help inform educational practice. With this in mind, I cultivated the following eight resources as a short primer on the topic.
The most important lesson from 83,000 brain scans – This 15 minute video by Daniel Amen provides a helpful introduction to how research on the human brain offers us lessons and insights about life and learning.
What does every educator need to know about the brain? by Eric Jensen – Eric Jensen is a seminal figure in the area of brain-based learning (which is technically distinct from mind-brain education). This short video will introduce you to Eric Jense and provide a few foundational brain-based ideas that Jensen considers important for educators. –
Neuroplasticity and Education – For a long time, most people believed the brain worked like a machine, with each part playing distinct and unrelated roles. More recent research shows how resilient we are as humans, and how our brain can adapt and change through learning and new experiences. This short video introduces us to this idea called neuroplasticity, and why it is important for education.
Mind, Brain and Education: The Impact of Educational Neuroscience on the Science of Teaching by David A. Sousa (pp. 37 – 43) – David Sousa is another seminal scholar in the field of mind-brain education. The following link is to a text with a collection of essays about the subject. However, pp. 37-43 provides a helpful summary and introduction for educators.
Brain Rules Schools: What School Would Look Like if we Listened to Research – Education can sometimes be shaped by trends and fads more than research. What would schools look like if we tried to build them based more upon the principles that we can extract from mind-brain research? This resource explores that question and offers some possibilities.
Mind, Brain and Education Journal – This online journal includes a collection of some of the best and most current research in mind-brain education. Many of the articles can be viewed for free on the web site, but others will require a bit of detective work on your part, namely using a local library.
Why Mind, Brain Education? – This article is named after the central question for the essay. It provides a simple and straightforward rationale for the importance of mind-brain research in education. –
Why Mind, Brain and Education Science is the “New” Brain-Based Education – This article is an excellent introduction to the idea of mind-brain education, why it is important, and the implications for education.