Teachers are hungry for more information about the brain how it works, the best way to stimulate intelligence and what methods make learning effective. In a recent survey for the Teaching and Learning Research Programme, the UK's largest investment in educational research, nine out of 10 teachers thought that a knowledge of the brain was important or very important in the design of educational courses.
The research programme published a commentary last month, Neuroscience and Education: Issues and Opportunities, which examined some of the areas where neuroscience is having an impact on education. However, it also showed that attempts to introduce these approaches in the classroom have so far been of mixed quality, relying too little on the evidence and too much on "impressive sounding, but scientifically questionable formulae", in the words of Professor Ian Diamond, chief executive of the Economic and Social Research Council.
Over the next six weeks, the Brain Behaviour pages will be exploring some of the areas covered by the commentary. Today, Susan Greenfield looks for the scientific basis of learning styles and finds it isn't there
1. Kayser, C. Listening with your Eyes (2007) Scientific American Mind 18(2)20-21
2. Coffield, F., Moseley, D. E., Ecclestone, K (2004) Learning Styles and pedagogy in post-16 learning: A systematic and critical review, (Report No. 041543). London: Learning and Skills Research Centre
3. Pickering, S.J. and Howard-Jones, P.A. (2007) Educators' views of the role of Neuroscience in Education: A study of UK and International perspectives. Mind, Brain and Education 1(3)
Download Neuroscience and Education at www.tlrp.org