Learning Team 3
Dumont, H., Instance, D. & Benavides, F. (2010) The Nature of Learning
Summary Chapter 5
Learning from the development and biological perspective.
1) The field of mind, brain and education, also called as “educational neuroscience”, include: neuroscience, cognitive science and education. Research in mind, brain and education can play a key role in designing effective education policies and practices.
2) Genetics provide a plan for the brain’s basic organisation. Connectivity patterns within brain network define genetic predispositions for later development, which are realised to a greater or lesser extend in response to the environment. The first few years of life around 700 new connections are formed per second. Connection are reduced through a process called “pruning”. Sensory capacities like vision and hearing are shaped earliest.
3) How people use their brains to learn? The brain network involved in learning can be classified into:
– the “recognition”
The RECOGNITION network, which includes sensory areas such as the visual cortec, receives information from the environment and transforms it into knowledge.
The STRATEGIC network, which includes the prefrontal cortex, is used for planning and coordinating goal-oriented actions.
The AFFECTIVE network encompasses areas of the limbic system. It is involved in emotional demensions of learning such as interest, motivation and stress.
These networks are made up of specialised nerve cells called NEURONS and supporting glial cells.
Learning experiences are translated into electrical and chemical signals that modify connections between neurons.
Each neuron has 3 parts:
– a cell body
– an axon.
A neuron that is sending information is termed a “presynaptic neuron” and a neuron that is receiving information is termed a “postsynaptic neuron”. There is a small space called the “synaptic cleft”. Changes in synaptic connections are modified by learning experiences. (“use it or lose it rule”). Presynaptic inputs may be strengthening or inhibiting. The initial facilitation or inhibition of the connection is temporary -> short-term memory.
Repeated activity, or lack of it leads to long term changes -> long term memory.
Brain is shaped by experience.=> good educational experience improves brain development.
4) Emotional experiences are also built into the architecture of the developing brain.
Emotion and cognition work together to guide learning processes. We learn to cognitively regulate emotional reactions.
Effective emotional regulation strategies include reinterpretation and depersonalisation.
Reinterpretation involves reframing a situation in a more positive way.
Depersonalisation involves considering a situation objectively rather than taking it personally. If learning institutions are responsible for cognitive development, they are automatically involved in emotional development as well.
5) Language and literacy. The brain is biologically primed to acquire language. The earlier a language is learned, the more efficiently the brain can master its grammar and accent. Exposing the brain to a foreign language in early childhood leads grammar to be processed by the left hemisphere as in a native speaker.
As you look at the word, => visual cortec (part of the recognition network) => converting letters into sounds (Broca’s area) => transfer of word to meaning involves the Visual word form area (VWFA).
Language brain structures, such as Broca’s area and Wernicke’s area, play an important role in reading across languages.
6) Mathematics. Babies are born with several quantitative abilities.Teaching tools such as the number line and concrete spatial manipulatives (blocka, rods, board games, tools) can reinforce mathematical understanding.
When children learn by drill it is encoded in a different neural location than when they learn by strategy.
7) People use their brains differently, following different learning pathways.
Educators have long known that new knowledge is built in different ways based on previous learning, and neuroscientists recognise this as a fundamental principle of how the brain learns.
Learning can be guided by multiple means of assessment. Formative assessment emphasises the process of learning, it encourages children to develop meta-cognitive skills like defining goals, assessing process and adjusting learning strategies.
8)Children and adolescents learn in a social context, and the human brain is primed for social interaction. The brain is tuned to experience empathy. As we grow and learn in a society, our brains are shaped by the culturally situated experiences. It is important to become aware about cultural biases. Cultural sensitivity is crucial in an increasingly globalised world.
Wernicke’s area responsible for speech comprehension.
Broca’s area responsible for speech production.