Tag Archive for 'brain'

Willingham on neuropsych bunkum

If you’re interested in understanding why “most of what you see advertised as educational advice rooted in neuroscience is bunkum,” slip on over to LD Blog and catch up with a post about Dan Willingham’s recent entry explaining what educators need to know about brains.

Left AND right brain

Teach Effectively pal Dan Willingham’s entry for this week at the Washington Post is about the myth of the left-brain-vs-right-brain dichotomy. He drives a very large convoy of vehicles through the gaping hole in the putative theory, a hole that was reopened by a report published by Arne Dietrich and Riam Kanso in a prestigious Psychological Bulletin article entitled “A Review of EEG, ERP, and Neuroimaging Studies of Creativity and Insight.”

Professors Dietrich and Kanso examined a shipload of studies that used multiple methods to examine the relationships between neurological functions and structures and creative thinking. What they found does not accord with the Pop-Ed views one is likely to hear in what passes as professional development sessions provided by at least some—if not many—schools and teacher education programs.
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Engelmann explains

Zig Engelmann, progenitor of Direct Instruction (DI), has posted a video of a talk he gave earlier this month. The presentation is an explication of the underlying principles of DI, “Theory of Direct Instruction.”

In the presentation (video below the jump), Mr. Engelmann shows some of his chops from his undergraduate degree in philosophy. He starts with philosophers’ fundamental arguments and shows how those correspond (or don’t) with learning and teaching concepts. For example, as he works through John Stuart Mills’ five methods of induction from A System of Logic, he makes clear how each would apply to teaching. I suspect that this particular sequence will show many people why DI instruction (the examples used in the scripts, not the teaching behavior) is structured the way it is.
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Remedial instruction and brain plasticity…again


Image of CMU home page

Over on LD Blog I posted an entry a couple of months ago about a study showing changes in brain function as a result of instruction. I’m noting it here because Carnegie Mellon University featured the study on its home page. The story is that Ann Meyers and her colleagues reported another study documenting how reading instruction affects learners’ brains. In this case, the research involved 100 hours of remedial instruction and the outcomes were improved comprehension.

Link to the entry on LD Blog. Link to the CMU Web page, part of which is pictured above. Link to the press release about the study.

Meyler, A., Keller, T. A., Cherkassky, V. L., & Just, M. A. (2008). Modifying the brain activation of poor readers during sentence comprehension with extended remedial instruction: A longitudinal study of neuroplasticity. Neuropsychologia, 46, 2580-2592.

Willingham video ii

Dan Willingham has posted a revised version of his brief video explaining the relationship between research on brain functioning and education. I referred both faithful readers of Teach Effectively to the original video in this earlier post and I’ve now updated that post with a link to the new video (a link to the old one’s still there, too).

More on brain-based education

My colleague Dan Willingham has posted a marvelous video that’s an introduction to thinking about neuroscience and education. Under the title “Brain-based Education: Fad or Breakthrough,” he illustrates important elements about what are reasoned extrapolations from cognitive neuroscience to education and what are not.


Update (18 May 2008): It’s heartening to see that other sites are pointing to Dan’s video. Here’s a preliminary list (please add others via the comments):

Update (7 June 2008): A couple of days ago, Dan posted a new version of the video; I’ve modified the links in the box accordingly.




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