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Opinion: Why teachers shouldn’t learn neuroscience


This article from Education Week suggests that teachers ought to learn neuroscience. That strikes me as a colossal waste of teachers’ time, says cognitive scientist Daniel Willingham, a psychology professor at the University of Virginia and author of “Why Don’t Students Like School?” The offered justification is that a high percentage of teacher’s hold false beliefs about the brain, and thus ought to be “armed” to evaluate claims that they encounter in professional development sessions, the media, etc. But it takes an awful lot of work for any individual to become knowledgeable enough about neuroscience to evaluate new ideas. And why would it stop at neuroscience? One could make the same case for cognitive psychology, developmental psychology, social psychology, sociology, cultural studies, and economics, among other fields. Further, this suggestion seems like unnecessary duplication of effort. What’s really needed is for a few trusted educators to evaluate new ideas, and to periodically bring their colleagues up to date…

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