How do we improve learning?

Applying neuroscience to education addresses learning efficiency; the hope is that better practice is just around the corner. But is it really?


The bottom line here is that any behaviour needs to be repeated regularly and often so it becomes a habit. In terms of school pupils, making room for any new practices lies in the gift of the people with the most well established habits; the adults.

The six exciting new studies, funded by the Education Endowment Foundation, will help to establish the behavioural habits and the habits of mind that improve learning efficiency.

Neuroscience is relevant here because it focuses on specific habits of mind. These habits are important because they relate to the pupil outcomes endorsed by modern-day education, including determination, generosity and/or creativity. Further, neuroscience has already shown that how we eat, sleep/rest and move creates the conditions for the brain remodelling that determines how well we learn these features.

Once the better approaches are established, every pupil will need help to do what will eventually become beneficial habits. Thus, all teachers, parents and school managers who work with young people will need help to convert these ‘new’ behaviours into their work habits.

A blog by Tougher Minds Consultant Professor Jim McKenna.


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