Neuroeducation in the Classroom: What You Should Know

· April 30, 2019
Neuroeducation is the field that concentrates on understanding brain function to optimize learning in the classroom.

Today we’re going to talk about neuroeducation in the classroom. It’s ushering in a new wave of change that could revolutionize teaching.

For decades now there has been little change to the educational system, and the methods used are clearly becoming obsolete. It’s becoming more and more obvious that there is a need for a change in how we teach and transmit knowledge in the classroom.

What is neuroeducation?

Neuroeducation is the coming together of neurosciences and pedagogy with the goal of optimizing the learning experience.

This discipline seeks to understand brain function (how our brain assimilates, codes, or remembers information) and apply this to teaching. Consequently, teachers will develop better educational methods.

Human beings use an integral process when they learn something where thought, feeling, and action are all inseparable in the learning experience.

With this in mind, neuroeducation is about finding ways to deepen learning by understanding how the brain learns and adapting classroom techniques to help achieve this.

Basic neuroeducational concepts in the classroom 

Brain plasticity. The way we absorb knowledge isn’t static. Our brains have a plasticity that allows us to mold and modify neural connections by way of continuous learning.

Mirror neurons. This group of brain cells allows us to learn not just from our own experience, but also by observing others. In addition, it’s thanks to these cells that we develop empathy and acquire knowledge.

Neuroeducation in the Classroom: What You Should Know

Interaction between genetics and experience. The reality of our abilities and capacities are determined by epigenetics. This is the combination of our genetic makeup and our experiences.

That’s to say, it forms the basis of what kind of work or knowledge attracts us and what we’re best at doing. In addition, our experiences mold and modify that epigenetic basis.

Emotional learning. For a good internalization of information, students need to receive more than just theoretical exposure to an idea. Likewise, content that evokes emotions in the person will be learned with greater ease and more permanently.

Significant learning. To really understand something we need to transfer it to the “real world” and experiment with it. For example, we should discover what the information is really useful for so we can engage with the practical level of what we’re learning.

How is neuroeducation applied in the classroom?

It’s highly relevant that educators now know more about brain function and how to optimize the academic performance of their students despite their learning differences.

When it comes to adopting the neuroeducation framework in the classroom, some of the key principles that characterize this approach are the following:

Neuroeducation in the classroom: how should learning transpire?

  • Curiosity is essential to learning. It’s necessary to engender eagerness and an innate will to learn in students, giving them challenges and adventures as they learn the content.
  • Learning should be active. Students shouldn’t just receive information in a passive way. They should be able to use it and participate actively in the learning process.
  • It’s very important that there is also an emotional and significant level of learning.
  • It’s especially relevant to carry out teaching through different channels, in a way that produces a lot of novelty (in the channels of communication) and some repetition of content.  This will help enormously so the student can assimilate the knowledge.

What should the classroom environment be like?

  • The physical space of the classroom should be appropriate. It should be pleasing, orderly, and varied. In that way, children can better attend to changing stimuli.
  • The classroom should also have decor that is somewhat adaptable to each different learning unit. Natural lighting should be used as much as possible. 
  • Soft background music is also appropriate during some activities as it can calm anxieties.
Neuroeducation in the Classroom: What You Should Know

How should educators behave?

  • Teachers should make an effort to promote a positive climate in the classroom, and they should be available to students and empathetic.
  • It’s very important to help children identify their emotions and deal with them. That is, students have to learn not to react impulsively. They should respond in a mediated way that’s appropriate even when they’re upset or angry.
  • Students should receive constructive and reinforcing feedback. This means it’s not enough to just assign a number to a child. It’s necessary to give children specifications and to point out how to improve on their mistakes. In addition, teachers need to keep the student’s motivation up by pointing out the things they did correctly.
  • Help students build a healthy level of self-esteem, so they feel capable and validated. Avoid comparing them to other students at all costs.