photo: Sue Houston

Neuroscience is all about how the brain works. In recent times science has been able to figure out quite a bit.  We know more about the different regions of the brain, how they process information and how that information goes from one part of the brain to another.  We also have at this point some understanding of how the chemical messengers between neurons work and affect our learning, emotions and our decision making.

Neuroscience starts to make sense as the mechanisms behind Learning Theory.  In high school, we all studied Gregor Mendel and his work with pea plants.  He worked out the laws of heredity back in the 1850’s, but it was not until a hundred years later that Watson and Crick worked out the structure of DNA which is carrying those things called genes. Understanding the nature of DNA has led to innumerable breakthroughs in the biological sciences, and now as we figure out more about how the brain works, we can hope to be making some serious progress in improving education.

The point I want to make here is that knowledge of the emotional, biochemical and physical mechanisms behind learning is empowering for both the teacher and the student.  Neuroscience and Learning Theory, for me combine together and are clearly apparent all the time while observing students in the midst of the learning process.



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