My next reading project

This week I finally decided that I had to sit down and write a paper. For the past years, I transitioned from science to science education, and while I still have my little pet projects involving little cells in the lab, the truth is that most of my time is spent teaching. And education is a different beast, where there are learning theories and approaches and assessments and complex ideas (of which I do not know a lot about). I happen to reside in a small campus where most of the faculty are Ed faculty, and by osmosis I have learned a lot about the science of education, together with a list of readings.

So my plan is (hope it will work,) is to share the progress of reading. I am starting with a classic, The Art of Changing the Brain by James E. Zull.

“Life is learning, life is teaching.”

Ok so James Zull is a biologist, something that he will say again and again: his purpose is to discuss how the knowledge of the brain can influence teaching.

In the Introduction, Zull starts saying how his book is intended to fill a gap: to interpret neuroscience from an education perspective. Then he clarifies that he does not want to discard existing practices acquired through cognitive science or education research. But he hopes to make us understand that real learning takes place in the brain and the body of the learner.

Then he discusses some challenges about the book in general: for example, his reluctance to define learning (except maybe that learning is change). And his refusal to be classified according to a learning theory (constructivist etc). He states that he goes where biology takes him, and prefers to be “sloppy” when talking “brain science” instead of neuroscience, cognitive science etc: “definitions may imply divisions and differences that don’t really exist.”

And that’s it for today: next installment is about The Sweet Edge. Stay tuned!

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