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"Brain-based education" as a global ideology: Whither comparative studies?

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Abstract:

The concepts that underpin ‘brain-based’ education involve the idea that learning is a purely physical phenomenon – learning involves changing neural connections in the brain – and that what is involved in learning is innate and common to all human beings. Sometimes this is supported by the notion that the brain has evolved to meet certain physical needs, primarily the survival needs of a hominid on the savannah four million years ago. Students of comparative education will recognise that this account of learning leaves no room for cultural differentiation in learning, and privileges a particular kind of scientific understanding of human development. This can be seen as an attempt to reform the way that we view education, and can therefore, be seen as a political manoeuvre to reform education in specific ways, which are implicit. We need to think carefully about whether we welcome such a development, or whether, as I would argue, comparative educationists need to mount a vigorous defence of our understanding of human development, that education and learning are always embedded in a particular social context. As such, it becomes education that liberates us form pre-conceived ideas.While many of the conclusions of brain-based approaches to education are inoffensive, even anodyne, it may not be wise to accept the underlying arguments, which are fundamentally opposed to a comparative sensitivity. Having first examined the need for a critical and comparative scepticism about brain-based education, this paper offers a critique of cognitivism and cultural diversity.
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Association:
Name: 55th Annual Conference of the Comparative and International Education Society
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http://www.cies.us


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URL: http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p492448_index.html
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MLA Citation:

Turner, David. ""Brain-based education" as a global ideology: Whither comparative studies?" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the 55th Annual Conference of the Comparative and International Education Society, Fairmont Le Reine Elizabeth, Montreal, Quebec, Canada, <Not Available>. 2014-11-26 <http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p492448_index.html>

APA Citation:

Turner, D. ""Brain-based education" as a global ideology: Whither comparative studies?" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the 55th Annual Conference of the Comparative and International Education Society, Fairmont Le Reine Elizabeth, Montreal, Quebec, Canada <Not Available>. 2014-11-26 from http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p492448_index.html

Publication Type: Panel Paper
Abstract: The concepts that underpin ‘brain-based’ education involve the idea that learning is a purely physical phenomenon – learning involves changing neural connections in the brain – and that what is involved in learning is innate and common to all human beings. Sometimes this is supported by the notion that the brain has evolved to meet certain physical needs, primarily the survival needs of a hominid on the savannah four million years ago. Students of comparative education will recognise that this account of learning leaves no room for cultural differentiation in learning, and privileges a particular kind of scientific understanding of human development. This can be seen as an attempt to reform the way that we view education, and can therefore, be seen as a political manoeuvre to reform education in specific ways, which are implicit. We need to think carefully about whether we welcome such a development, or whether, as I would argue, comparative educationists need to mount a vigorous defence of our understanding of human development, that education and learning are always embedded in a particular social context. As such, it becomes education that liberates us form pre-conceived ideas.While many of the conclusions of brain-based approaches to education are inoffensive, even anodyne, it may not be wise to accept the underlying arguments, which are fundamentally opposed to a comparative sensitivity. Having first examined the need for a critical and comparative scepticism about brain-based education, this paper offers a critique of cognitivism and cultural diversity.


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