Neuroscience & the Classroom: Making Connections
Success Story: Dr. Alexander Goldowsky
Success Story: Dr. Alexander Goldowsky
Dr. Alexander Goldowsky taught elementary school in the inner city and is director of museum programs and exhibits at the EcoTarium, a science museum in Worcester, MA. He recounts the history of his dyslexia and makes observations about his own positive educational experiences.
4.1 Warm Jackets Generate Heat?
Students put a thermometer inside a jacket to test their prediction that it will get warmer, the longer it stays inside.
4.2 Turning Tables at Gallaudet University: What is “Normal?”
See how Gallaudet University, by creating an environment that is fully adapted to the needs of the deaf and hard-of-hearing, turns tables on hearing people.
4.3 Success Story: Dr. Stephen Shore
Professor of education at Adelphi University, Stephen Shore was diagnosed with autism at 18 months. He describes the role his parents and teachers played to help him develop into who he is today.
4.4 Attention and Magic
Neuroscientists Susana Martinez-Conde and Stephen Macknik have studied professional magicians, pointing to some ways that teachers can better hold students' attention.
4.5 Working Memory and Attention
Mathematics educator, Bob Speiser, demonstrates a 15c algorithm for multiplication, showing how it is less taxing on working memory than traditional multiplication.
4.6 Implicit Learning
A study by Dr. Matthew H. Schneps shows that while dyslexics have difficulty with reading, which involves central vision, they have an advantage with peripheral vision.
4.10 Success Story: Dr. Temple Grandin
Dr. Temple Grandin is associate professor of animal science at Colorado State University, Fort Collins. Diagnosed with autism at the age of two, Dr. Grandin is considered one of the top advocates of both autism-spectrum understanding and animal welfare. She credits her success as a scientist to her autism, advocating an emphasis on the talents of those with autism rather than describing it as a disability. [Audio interview]
4.11 Reading with Half a Brain
Neuroscientist Tami Katzir (University of Haifa) is working with Brooke Smith, who has only his right hemisphere, to find out how he reads at all.
Unit 0 Introduction: The Art and Science of Teaching
The introduction lays out the goals of the course, defines a partnership between teachers and scientists, and suggests a method that teachers can use to apply research to classroom challenges.
unit 1 Different Brains
We all have different brains, different profiles of cognitive strengths and weaknesses that affect how we perceive and solve problems. Two dramatic success stories of boys missing half their brain provide insight into how all of us learn and suggest new ways to think about teaching.
unit 2 The Unity of Emotion, Thinking, and Learning
Emotion, thinking and learning are inseparable. Emotion is the rudder for thought and the key to memory. This unit explores the purposes of emotions by answering the questions, what is emotion, and why do we have it? The unit provides insight into motivation and the role of intuition in problem-solving.
unit 3 Seeing Others from the Self
We understand the goals of others by simulating their actions on our own neural systems. This unit looks at mirror neurons, empathy, and the social nature of learning. It also discusses the need to align teacher and student goals in the classroom and the importance of reflection, or inner-directed attention, in developing meaning and motivation.
unit 4 Different Learners, Different Minds
This unit challenges us to reconsider labels like "normal" and "disabled" by looking at the important connection between individual strengths and weaknesses and the context in which we must solve problems. Weakness in one context can be strength in another.
unit 5 Building New Neural Networks
Building new understandings or skills means building and rebuilding new neural networks. How that process occurs is the focus of this unit, which emphasizes the crucial link between performance and context and suggests that the traditional notion of learning as a linear development of isolated skills is misleading.
unit 6 Implications For Schools
This unit examines what some teachers have done to transform research principles into specific lessons and practices to improve student learning. Rather than suggesting that these illustrations are universally applicable to any school, the unit challenges educators to experiment by creating answers to their own questions.
unit 7 Conclusion: A Community of Educators
This unit discusses the Mind, Brain, and Education (MBE) movement that brings researchers and educators together so that research informs education and so that teachers' actual experiences in classrooms inform research. It explores the attitudes and conditions that create productive partnerships for meaningful change to occur.