education philosopher

Dan Willingham on Brain-based Learning

Posted in Brain-based learning, Mind, Philosophy by KevinCK on June 22, 2009

Here is a great videoby cognitive psychologist Daniel Willingham discussing why we might be skeptical of brain-based learning and claims that brain research can or should inform education.

His primary focus is on showing that brain-based learning is premised on the faulty assumption that knowing how the brain works (and knowing how specific parts of the brain works) is in any way equivalent to knowing how the mind works. As he says, educators are best to study how the child’s mind works (what interests children, how to create engaging learning experiences, how to increase focus) rather than studying how the brain works.

I especially like Willingham’s thought that teachers who use practices that have proven effective in their classroom would not likely be moved by brain studies offering suport  or refutation by brain studies. Unless one is a neurology professor or neurophilosopher, one probably will care more about whether x practice works on the mind, rather than the brain (even if one recognizes that the two are one in the same, the former is understandable via folk psychology).


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