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Trends in Education: Neuroeducation

This is a series of blogs about trends in education. This article focused on neuroeducation. It is a short and simple overview with four applications to ESL.

What is Neuroeducation?

Neuroeducation or educational neuroscience is the practice of applying neuroscience research in education. The goal is to create an evidence based approach to educational practices.

Neuroeducation brings together the fields of cognitive psychology, education and neuroscience. Researchers study how the brain works when learning. The brain activity is measured using fMRI and other techniques. Neuroscience researchers view learning as problem-solving, motivation, memory and attention.

Neuroscience research states quality sleep is needed for memory consolidation. Simply, if you don't get enough long deep sleep then you will remember less. Physically activity and good nutrition supports the brain and Improves learnings outcomes. Stress can have a positive and negative effect on learning.

What are the applications of neuroeducation in ESL teaching?

So, how can be apply the lesson from neuroscience in ESL (English as a second language) teaching? Here are four points in how you can apply neuroeducation in your teaching:

  1. Use multi-sensory approaches: improve learning by using multiple sensory modalities. This means you should use visual aids (pictures and videos). So don't use say or write the word - show them. Also you should add activities which get your students moving and using gestures. This is obviously a must with younger learners but why not try it with older students?

  2. Add active learning: active learning is better than passive learning. Active learning involves problem-solving activities and discussions. This is engages the brain more effectively than passive learning. Passive learning are things such as listening to lectures. ESL teaching should use active learning strategies to improve language learning and memory retention.

  3. Catch their attention and motivate: attention and motivation plays a crucial role in learning. ESL teachers should use strategies to improve attention and motivation. For example, use the first stage of your lesson to hook your students. This could be in the form of an open-question. Also, you should provide a supportive learning environment through a dialogic behavioural approach. This would motivate students as they would feel safe and develop a positive relationship with you (the teacher). You could also catch students attention by using techniques such as gamification.

  4. Use technology: we live in 2023 and many of us have technology in the classroom. So why not use that tech to provide interactive and engaging learning activities? Research has shown that the brain is responsive to visual and auditory stimuli. Technology can provide multi-sensory learning experiences.

So, neuroeducation is an interesting developing field. It has real and useful applications to ESL. So you should keep an eye on it.

At SKOLA we take an evidence-based approach to our teaching. Being adventurous is one of our values. We value being life-long learners and passionate about learning and teaching.

If you want to know more about the SKOLA approach to education then you can use this link to read more: The SKOLA Approach If you want to read more about neuroeducation then you can read more below:

  • Bowers, L. M., & Swanson, H. L. (2018). Neuroeducation: Principles and applications for educators and learners. Guilford Publications.

  • Chen, L., Wang, C., & Jiang, X. (2020). Applying neuroscience research to English as a second language teaching. Frontiers in psychology, 11, 566622.

  • Kim, Y. S., & Lee, J. (2020). Multisensory learning in teaching English as a second language: Integrating neuroscience into classroom practices. Journal of Education and Learning, 9(2), 103-115.

  • Oxford, R. L. (2017). Teaching and researching language learning strategies: Self-regulation in context (2nd ed.). Routledge.

  • Strevens, P. (2017). Neuroscience and language learning: Opportunities and challenges for language education. ELT Journal, 71(4), 397-406.


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