How learning changes the shape of your brain

 Neuroeducation – the brain science of learning – is an interdisciplinary field that combines neuroscience, psychology, education theory and practice, and machine learning algorithms to create improved teaching methods and curricula.

The latest scientific research shows that learning actually changes the shape of the brain, allowing specific areas in the brain to grow or change and – most importantly – this brain growth can be accelerated to improve learning and memory using certain approaches to teaching. This new discipline is moving closer to the classroom as researchers understand how young minds develop and learn. 

Why I practice what I preach

As a neuroscientist and teacher I have a keen interest in this area and I have tried to apply the latest findings to my own teaching in the classroom over the past 30 years. I had the honour of being invited to speak at an International Conference on Engaging Pedagogy (ICEP) * in NUI Maynooth last Friday 28th January. This is an annual event that brings together researchers and practitioners in the field of third-level teaching in order to discuss means and methods of improving student engagement. In my talk I discussed how recent findings from neuroscience – the scientific study of the brain – impacts on education and I commented on the fast pace of research in this area over the past five years. You can view my abstract and those of the other presenters here

My talk has prompted me to explore in more detail the nature of neuroeducation and how it can lead to improved teaching and learning. This week on the Inside the Brain blog I will be exploring how certain approaches to teaching act to improve brain function, learning and memory.  

* Click here for ICEP proceedings

Image Credit – Dreamstime