Brain Research and Childhood Education: Implications for Educators
Association for Childhood Education International, 2001 - Medical - 76 pages
Although much of the advice and training for educators derived from various interpretations of brain research findings has been useful, much is simplistic and misleading. This book draws on recent research to offer information about brain growth and neurological development and about the relationship between environment and brain development; the book is intended to help educators sort out facts from unsubstantiated claims regarding brain research implications for children. Chapter 1 of the book provides an overview of when, why, and how the brain was studied in earlier centuries, and explains the methodological advances that have promoted current brain research and led to recent findings. Chapter 2 contains basic information about brain structures and functions. Chapters 3 through 5 catalog what is known about the developing brain at 3 age levels: prenatal to age 3 years, 3 to 8 years, and 8 to 14 years. These chapters also suggest ways that children's cognitive, social-emotional, and physical development may be related to changes in brain structure or function, including brain development issues relevant to children with disabilities. Additional information examines how children's environment and genetic makeup may foster or impede brain growth and neurological development. Implications of this research for educational practice are noted. Chapter 6 discusses policy and practice issues that educators will need to address, given recent media emphasis on the importance of enhancing brain development and claims being made for adopting "brain-based" curricula. These issues include art and music early experiences, "smart" toys, critical periods, developmentally appropriate practice, emotional development as an educational goal, left brain/right brain teaching strategies, metacognitive teaching strategies, new math and old math, play in the curriculum, and whole language/phonics training. (Contains 135 references.) (KB)
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