Bridging between brain science and educational practice with design patterns

Michael W. Connell, Zachary Stein and Howard Gardner

in Neuroscience in Education

Published in print April 2012 | ISBN: 9780199600496
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191739187 | DOI:
Bridging between brain science and educational practice with design patterns

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The current ‘neuroscience and education’ dialogue seems to centre largely on the question of how (or whether) neuroscience research can inform mainstream educational practice. Building on Dewey's (1929) analysis of educational science in The Sources of a Science of Education, this chapter reframes the question to ask: How can research in the special sciences and insights from educational practice both inform a science of education? It points to explanatory mental models as the point of overlap between teacher perception, informal expertise, scientific theory, and teacher action. It argues that these mental models in the heads of educators are both the site of educational science proper and a leverage point for driving more desirable educational outcomes in a scalable manner. It identifies six ‘gaps’ that must be bridged to catalyse a sustainable science of education. Three of these gaps represent obstacles to collaboration between scientists and educators, and the other three gaps inhibit educators' widespread adoption, application, and validation of scientific theories. Design patterns, thoughtfully crafted, can help bridge all six gaps. A design pattern is a description of a recurring problem plus a description of a general solution that can be applied flexibly to many instances of the problem across diverse contexts.

Keywords: neuroscience research; education; educational practice; Dewey; mental models; design patterns

Chapter.  9477 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Neuroscience

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