Cambridge Teachers’ Conference 2011: “Learning, teaching and the Brain”

Las delegadas en Cambridge por el BDS, Luz Cerini (Kindergarten Headmistress) y Victoria Parigi (psicopedagoga, Primary) nos acercan su informe sobre este encuentro internacional que giró en torno a los avances de las neurociencias y su impacto en los procesos de enseñanza-aprendizaje.

«The topic of the Conference was  “Learning, teaching and the Brain” covering current advances in the developing field of brain research and education.

We joined a group of 200 educators from 36 different countries (Afghanistan, Azerbajan, Belgium, Bangladesh, Bosnia, Bulgaria, China, Cyprus, Denmark, Egypt, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Nepal, Malaysia, Jordan, Indonesia, Pakistan, South Africa, etc), and attended two plenaries. One was on “Brain, science and education: a cognitive perspective”, by Dr. Usha Goswami (Professor of Cognitive Developmental Neuroscience at the University of Cambridge and Director of the University’s Centre for Neruoscience in Education); and the other was on “Minds, brains and learning games”, developed by Dr. Paul Howard-Jones, who coordinates the NeuroEducational Research Network at the University of Bristol and is a member of the Royal Society working in Neuroscience and Education).

Neuroscience is currently revealing how information is coded and transmitted in the brain and thereby offers a novel perspective on cognitive development. Coding mechanisms are best studied in terms of the child’s sensory systems. The infant builds cognitive systems from sensory foundations and these cognitive systems are them developed by education.

We also participated in workshops that gave us the opportunity to get actively involved, share ideas, reflect on our own practices and consider the influence of the topics discussed on our teaching methods, helping us to better understand young learners.

The conference main line of reflection was the prospective impact of new scientific findings about learning and the brain on teaching in general. In the five workshops that we shared we explored the following topics:

  • Theories of memory and attention:  How we help children remember things, since  memory can be trained. How emotions are important in learning and how children connect with the learning process.   
  • Environment: How  we enrich language. How the environment shapes the brain encoding.
  • Learning: what thinking is; powerful forms of teaching and how we teach. Theories of learning. How children would like to learn. How we praise children. Praise for effort (not intelligence). Children see intelligence as something that can change, not as something fixed.
  • Learning assessment: what makes good assessment questions. Metacognition: thinking about thinking.
  • Creativity: Crossing frontiers and opening new paths of thought and action.

Finally, we visited two schools in Cambridge: St. Matthew’s and Perce School and then we went to Felsted School (near London), with which BDS has had previous exchanges. We had the chance to observe classes and talk to the staff about their practices, enriching once again our learning experience in England. We thank BDS for this wonderful opportunity».

La foto corresponde a uno de los talleres.

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