Play, learning and the brain
Play, learning and the brain

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Play, learning and the brain

3 Are there any problems with adopting brain-based approaches to education?

It is apparent that there is a great deal of overlap between what is termed BBE (brain-based education) and what has been considered ‘good’ early years practice (e.g. contextualised learning).

But are there any problems with the way in which research into brain development and function has been used by educationalists to develop the distinctive approach labelled ‘brain-based education’?

As could be anticipated with any new idea, BBE has both its advocates and others who urge practitioners to take a more cautious approach. Activity 3 presents some alternative perspectives and may help you decide which view you find most convincing.

Click on the link below to read the interview with Renate Caine, required for the activity below

A Conversation with Renate Nummela Caine [Tip: hold Ctrl and click a link to open it in a new tab. (Hide tip)]

Click on the link below to read Fran Ellers' account, also required for Activity 3.

New research spurs debate on early brain development

Activity 3

To help you decide, click on the "View document" link above and read the extract from the interview with Renate Caine, an advocate of connecting brain-based learning to education.

Then click on the second "View document" link above and read ‘New research spurs debate on early brain development’, Fran Ellers' account of a discussion with Charles Nelson, a brain researcher who urges a more cautious approach.

Amend your notes to Activity 2 to include ideas from these readings.

Further Reading:

John Bruer has written a very important critique of brain-based learning and the links that are being made between this research and early childhood educational policy. You may be interested in reading more about his views. Click on the link here to find 'In Search of … Brain-Based Education'.


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