Neuroscientists Find Learning is not “Hard Wired”

It hit the ASCD and EdWeek news blasts last week as it did the EdWeek print edition: Neuroscientists Find Learning is not “Hard Wired”.  I have been almost inundated with “did you see this” email follow-ups from colleagues from many parts of the USA and even from India.  Yes! I did see it and I read it!
So what do you think will be different this time the implications of neuroscience has hit the talk of our profession?  It appears that far too many educators have been remiss and in some cases obstinate about listening and learning from Neuroscientists, especially those who have devoted much of their scientific careers to the work of teaching and learning, and in particular the area of Literacy, Memory, Cognitive Processing, and Cognitive Capacity.  Why have we been so slow to listen and learn from their science?  I have some informed guesses:
1.  The financially gargantuan work of print publishing has invested so much more than neuroscientists could afford in their budgets to convince the teaching profession that we must keep flooded the worksheet, books, basal readers, level readers, and other print and e-print since that is their business.  We have bought and over-bought so much of this “stuff” without regard for the cognitive capacity of our students, even when we know we can treat students with neuroscientist-developed protocols such as Fast ForWord to get more out of the “stuff” we do buy from print publishers.
2.  When investing in neuroscientist-developed products and protocols, it somehow threatens the adult jobs and professions such as teacher-aides, speech and language clinicians, reading teachers, and the like.  The best work of teachers, clinicians, and others who have participated in rapid catch-up and academic growth of these products and services help us all learn that when these products and services are used it helps the teacher, clinician, and others get on to other learning and intervention activities they can better spend their time on.
3.  Still too many of us in the profession who, when not understanding something, fall back to flat out rejection.
Good news is that now companies such as Scientific Learning have seen the technology catch up to the science.  As such they can offer these products to help increase students’ performance in areas such as Literacy, Memory, Cognitive Processing, and Cognitive Capacity at a much lower cost for schools, families, speech clinics, etc. due to improved hosting technology, costs of deployment, and pricing.
If you check out the website you can find studies and case examples of where educators are actually listening and learning from neuroscientists and others.
We owe this to our students!

One Comment on “Neuroscientists Find Learning is not “Hard Wired”

  1. Absolutely true; the research is clear that students with weak cognitive skills will struggle in an academic environment frustrating teachers, learners, and parents. The applications exist to quickly build this capacity and unlock the world of learning for millions of students who are struggling.

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