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"If you see the words 'brain-based,' run"

By John Published: January 6, 2011

Cognitive psychologist and neuroscientist Daniel Willingham offers, via the Washington Post's education blog, The Answer Sheet, three brain facts every educator should know:

Here's the last one, which mentions a peer-reviewed journal I've been subscribing to for the last year and quoted for a story about spatial reasoning.

Neuroscience can contribute to educationit has already done so, especially in our understanding of reading and why some students have difficulty learning to read. Pick up a copy of the journal Mind, Brain, and Education and you'll see more examples. (I'm an associate editor of that journal.)

But most of what you see advertised as educational advice rooted in neuroscience is bunkum.

How can you tell the difference between bonafide research and schlock? That's an ongoing problem and for the moment, the best advice may be that suggested by David Daniel, a researcher at James Madison University: ''If you see the words 'brain-based,' run.''

Update: one area in education where neuroscience has made concrete contributions is the understanding of dyslexia.

Here's a video Willingham refers to in the comments section where he discusses the challenges  in more depth:



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