Centre for Educational Research and Innovation - CERI

Understanding the Brain: The Birth of a Learning Science


 Executive Summary | An "ABC " of the Brain | Table of contents | PodcastHow to Obtain this PublicationPrevious EditionWebsite


ISBN Number: 9789264029125
Publication Date: 22/06/2007
Pages: 330
Number of tables: 2 Number of graphs: 9


Understanding the Brain: The Birth of a Learning Science

This book provides new insights about learning. It synthesises existing and emerging findings from cognitive and brain science. It shows what the latest brain imaging techniques and other advances in the neurosciences actually reveal about how the brain develops and operates at different stages in life from birth to old age and how the brain is involved in acquiring skills such as reading and counting. It also presents scientific insights into what happens when the brain malfunctions in conditions such as dyslexia or Alzheimer's disease.

This enlightening publication is essential reading for all those involved in education as parents, teachers, learners or policy makers. It may confirm and illuminate what they already know from experience, but there will be surprises too. One of the aims of Undertanding the Brain is to encourage dialogue among educators and neuroscientists about what each can contribute to the understanding of how and when we learn. An international and interdisciplinary effort will play a decisive role in resolving recurring problems in education.


Executive Summary

After two decades of pioneering work in brain research, the education community has started to realise that “understanding the brain” can help to open new pathways to improve educational research, policies and practice. This report synthesises progress on the braininformed approach to learning, and uses this to address key issues for the education community. It offers no glib solutions nor does it claim that brain-based learning is a panacea. It does provide an objective assessment of the current state of the research at the intersection of cognitive neuroscience and learning, and maps research and policy implications for the next decade.

An "ABC " of the Brain

 Table of contents

Part I: The Learning Brain
1. An “ABC” of the Brain
2. How the Brain Learns throughout Life
3. The Impact of Environment on the Learning Brain
4. Literacy and the Brain
5. Numeracy and the Brain
6. Dispelling “Neuromyths”
7. The Ethics and Organisation of Educational Neuroscience
Conclusions and Future Prospects
Part II: Collaborative Articles
A. The Brain, Development and Learning in Early Childhood
B. The Brain and Learning in Adolescence
C. Brain, Cognition and Learning in Adulthood
Annex A. Fora
Annex B. Brain Imaging Technologies



How does the brain change as we learn? And how does the way we learn change as we age? Can we slow the development of brain disorders like dementia and Alzheimer’s? The co-author of Understanding the Brain: The Birth of a Learning Science, Koji Miyamoto from the OECD’s Centre for Educational Research and Innovation, explains the answers neuroscience is beginning to provide to these questions and discusses how people can be helped to learn at every stage of life.

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