For this weeks CALRG reading group we will look at a paper by Mary Helen Immordino-Yang.
Here are some guiding questions for the reading. Connecting Neuroscience to Education has been described as “a bridge tot far” most famously by Bruer. Reading Bruer’s critique is not necessary for the discussion, but if you are interested you can see it here. The basic premise of the argument is criticizing the following components which can be used as guiding questions for the discussion group. We will discuss two questions and then regroup and discuss across groups.
“If we cannot build the neuroscience and education bridge, but are interested in how brain structure supports cognitive function, we can pursue a more promising strategy that involves traversing two existing spans. The first connects educational practice with cognitive psychology, and the second connects cognitive psychology with brain science.” – Bruer
Let’s examine this piece as two discussion groups from instruction to cognition and from cognition to neural circuitry. Then we can discuss across groups if the two bridges are covered in this paper and if this reading provides further insights and criticisms
- The first Bridge – Instruction to Cognition
“Sharon Griffin, Robbie Case, and Bob Siegler applied the methods of cognitive psychology to analyze the cognitive skills and knowledge children must have to succeed in learning elementary arithmetic (Griffin, Case, & Siegler, 1994). They found that the ability to do numerical comparisons-which is bigger, 5 or 7?-is one such skill. They also found that some children from low-SES homes may not acquire this skill before entering school, but with appropriate instruction, they can acquire it. Their work is but one example of a bridge that exists between cognitive psychology and instruction.”
After reading “We Feel, Therefore we Learn” does the Instruction to Cognition describe the work outlined? Would it be useful in pursuing further research based on this paper? How would you apply this concept in testing ideas presented in this paper?
- The second bridge – Cognition to Neural Circuitry
“Cognitive psychology allows us to understand how learning and instruction support the acquisition of culturally transmitted skills like numeracy and literacy. Cognitive psychology in combination with brain imaging and recording technologies also allows us to see how learning and instruction alter brain circuitry. It opens the possibility of being able to see and to compare these learning-related changes in normal-versus-special learning populations. Such comparative studies might yield insights into specific learning problems and, more importantly, into alternative, compensatory strategies, representations, and neural circuits that children with learning disabilities might exploit. These insights could in tum help us develop better instructional interventions to address specific learning problems.”
After reading “We Feel, Therefore we Learn” does the Cognition to Neural Circuitry describe the work outlined? Would it be useful in pursuing further research based on this paper? How would you apply this concept in testing ideas presented in this paper?
- Another option to hear about this paper is a 25 minute presentation on the research covered in this video: Dr Mary Helen Immordino-Yang ‘We feel, therefore we learn’ at Mind & Its Potential 2011. The video covers some elements in the paper in more depth than the journal article and talks a bit more about some of the research supporting the paper.
- If you find this work to be interesting you can pick up a book : Emotions, Learning, and the Brain. The book is really a synopsis of Mary Helen Immordino-Yang’s research papers that are publicly available here.