Learning, Teaching and the Brain

16 September 2011

At a conference hosted by Cambridge International Examinations, Dr Paul Howard Jones from Bristol University explained how teachers can use insights from neuroscience to provide more effective teaching and learning.

More than 200 teachers from over 50 countries who attended the conference from 11-13 September heard Dr Howard Jones explain how teachers are the only professionals who have the daily responsibility of changing the function, the connectivity and even the structure of the brain.

"Simply understanding the brain can be important for educational achievement", Dr Howard Jones explained.

"Teachers must be cautious when they find ideas that allege some sort of basis in neuroscience. But there are some positive things such as the effective exercise on learning and the need for children to learn something about their own brain and what effect this can have on their achievement.

"Although there is no benefit from teaching to a particular learning style, I think the idea of presenting information in visual, auditory and kinaesthetic forms is a good thing.

"And the use of games in the classroom is underutilised. Now that we are competing with such effective media we need to find more effective ways of engaging children with learning games in the classroom."

Mr Sven Primdal, Principal from Skals Efterskole, Denmark, who attended the conference said: "I will take away interesting ideas from the key note speakers about how psychology impacts learning in the classroom. Connecting with teachers from around the world provides a great opportunity to reflect on your own teaching methods, challenge things that could be improved and build on what has already been achieved."