What is Educational Neuroscience?

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Most will agree that higher education is without a doubt, a necessary attainment for success within today’s world of high achievers.  This can sometimes be a struggle for parents and students when learning doesn’t come so easily. There are so many varied styles of learning that are needed, requiring many more varied styles of educating and lessons.  Many students require different methods of learning, some require a unique style of lesson to absorb the material, and others can just coast along without problems.

It becomes a serious concern when students begin to fall behind.  Once this happens, it’s easy to continue down that pathway; accumulatively the student will tend to slip through the cracks, and then as a result he may just barely make it through high-school. There are many factors contributing to this dilemma; the American economy, socio-economic status, educational cutbacks, overcrowded classrooms, and a shortage in teachers all add to this crisis.

How can a student, who struggles academically throughout high-school make their way into post-secondary education? This is an ongoing concern for both parents and administrators, especially when post-secondary education is practically mandatory for maintaining financial security.  Researchers are working on understanding the cognitive and neural functioning of the brain during academic exercises which could greatly result in an improved quality of teaching, which will further improve learning for those with different learning styles.

 

Educational Neuroscience

A relatively new disciplinary field of educational psychology applies an interdisciplinary program of cognitive psychology, neuroscience, and educational psychology to design improved methods of teaching. This will be beneficial for students that require assistance outside of the traditional teaching approaches. The unique scientific discipline will inclusively involve open communication between the researchers, the teachers as well as administrators for the student with specific educational plans and goals.  This will ensure the added benefit of having the teacher’s first-hand input on the educational plan; prepared by the researchers; which will provide the opportunity for teachers to offer input toward the research relative to the educational programs.

 

Neuroplasticity and Neurogenesis

Studies show that neural connections are stronger in specific brain regions within children that excel at reading, as opposed to children who have been diagnosed with Dyslexia. Research into the formation of memory is also being utilized to achieve a better understanding into the best methods of studying.  Learning to play a musical instrument has also been revealed to produce new neural connections which in turn can increase IQ levels while improving other areas of learning as well.

Bilingualism, in the same respect will further increase neural connections, ultimately improving learning.

Neuroplasticity is essentially the term used to explain the brain’s ability to develop throughout the life cycle, as opposed to what was once believed to only occur during childhood.

Neurogenesis is the term used to explain the phenomenon of new neuronal growth.  Both of these actions also continue well into adulthood.

Workshops and seminars have become quite prevalent within the educational field in regards to this discipline, and interest has skyrocketed as neuroeducation leads to promising outcomes.

Teaching specific areas of educational neuroscience to instructors will provide them with information in the key factors and barriers relative to learning such as dyslexia, brain development, neurobiological aspects of the adolescent brain and sensitive periods for learning.

Research into this field will include the monitoring of brain functions during such activities as reading, memory, attention, language and mathematical equations to gain the understanding of brain development while learning; all of which is necessary for educational neuroscience, and the benefits that may come from it.

In summary, neuroeducation strives to increase the neural connectivity within regions of the brain that are involved in learning. The program is modeled for teachers and administrators, while conducted by researchers looking to improve the beneficial communication between teacher, student and scientific research.

Educational Neuroscience can significantly improve the teacher’s quality of instruction, not only for the non-traditional learners, but for all learners, and with the inclusion of parental, or guardian’s assistance, this program can further increase the chance of success by continuing with the learning processes at home.

Increasing teachers’ knowledge of neuroanatomy, and brain development can provide necessary tools to improve learning among the classroom, and with educational neuroscience, hopefully the rates of academic success will greatly increase, giving everyone the opportunity to excel, not only in high-school, but also in post-secondary education which is something that can make a huge difference to the student, and to society in general.

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