Brain-based education is widely used in teachers’ practice across the country, in primary, middle, and higher education. It is used to teach students or adults a variety of skills and abilities. The apparent universality of the method lays in the fact that it unites theories that consider the brain and its inherent qualities as such, which should determine the learning method (Jean, 2019). Therefore, brain-based education is an educational approach that exists at the intersection of the psychology, neurology, and technology fields. This paper aims to critically evaluate the trend for brain-based education in teachers’ practice.
Brain-Based Education and Its Benefits
It is widely recognized that the application of teaching practices that use theories of brain-based education is associated with improved academic performance among students and affects their academic careers. Interestingly, when starting brain-based education teachers can choose from the full range of theories and stick to the chosen direction. One critical advantage is that the teacher can make a choice based on particular circumstances, for example, the age and personalities of the students, the character of the discipline being studied, or the classroom space.
Because brain-based education offers a more personal approach, this leads to better academic performance, including the ability to remember and understand educational material. There are several learning strategies, such as multisensory learning, social-emotional learning, or multiple intelligences. It is noteworthy that when choosing multisensory learning, the teacher seeks to appeal to various students’ senses since the teacher relies on the theory that different students process information in different ways. In particular, according to the theory of multisensory learning, there are four types of students – audial who perceive and remember information during a conversation, kinesthetic, for whom movement and theatrical acting of information are important, students with visual perception who like to draw diagrams, and students who better perceive the printed text. Obviously, these major differences suggest the need to employ an equally diverse range of tactics and approaches when developing a lesson plan. Interestingly, experiments with the sensory perception of information can be useful in overcoming sensory problems in some students, such as dyslexia.
Another example is the theory of social-emotional learning, which can improve the classroom atmosphere and interaction between students, as it is based on the idea that people remember information better during group discussions. Since the brain perceives information in the context of the environment and reacts to it emotionally, group interaction can improve academic performance by allowing students to share their thoughts and feelings while interacting in a shared space. It is generally accepted that applying this theory also helps students cope with social problems. Equally important, according to practical learning theory, critical appraisal, practical application, and verification of information contribute to improved comprehension.
Scholars on Brain-Based Education
These and other approaches can be used by teachers to enhance the teaching experience in the classroom. Remarkably, brain-based education has widespread support among scientists who have proven its effectiveness in many studies. Jean (2019) conducted a study where they identified nine theories that contribute to more effective language learning – Memory Storage and Retrieval Strengths theory, Social Development of Learning Theory, Communicative Language Teaching Theory, Game-Based Learning Theory, Perceptual Discrimination Theory, and other unique approaches. The scholar argues that memory is an essential quality of the brain that can be underestimated and that the application of these theories enhances human memory. Kosar and Bedir (2018) studied the potential of the learning environment and its impact on the human brain and concluded that “establishing a learning environment compatible with brain-based learning principles enables knowledge retention” (p. 3). In particular, the participants showed improved test scores compared to the control group.
As a rule, scientists are unanimous in the opinion that the use of brain-based education is effective in developing courses and lesson plans. Rogers and Hales (2020) identify five of the most common brain-based theories that have proven effective in modeling. These are Experimental Learning Theory, Constructivism, Adult Learning Theory, Self-Efficiency Theory, and Social Learning Theory (p. 43). Scientists also determine brain-based education as “neuroeducation or educational neuroscience,” where the educator “creates a learning environment that is consistent with how the human brain learns” (Rogers & Hales, p. 43). Given this definition, it is clear that the teacher’s role is paramount in how fully the theory will be implemented.
At the same time, a teacher who turns to the practice of brain-based education must use complex models for teaching students, which can be a challenging task. Noteworthy, Rene (2019) states that so far there is a lack of academic knowledge about brain-based education and that this type of education is not sufficiently popularized in educational institutions of the country. Therefore, the role of teachers can include not only the application and adaptation of the brain-based theories but also the dissemination of knowledge about them in educational institutions.
Thus, the trend for brain-based education in teachers’ practice was critically evaluated. Brain-based education utilizes many distinct theories, which is one of the main advantages of this approach, as teachers can develop unique lesson plans and educational practices depending on the needs of their students and the capabilities of educational institutions. Moreover, the application of such approaches significantly affects the academic success of students, which is recognized in the scientific community. Therefore, teachers can implement the approach creatively, applying their unique understanding and knowledge of the characteristics of their students.
Jean, P. H. (2019). Brain-based and learning theories: Application of theories in the classroom. European Journal of Education Studies, 1(3), 1-15.
Koşar, G., & Bedir, H. (2018). Improving knowledge retention via establishing a brain-based learning environment. European Journal of Education Studies, 3(5), 1-19.
Rodgers, D. L., & Hales, R. L. (2021). Brain-based learning. In Comprehensive Healthcare Simulation: ECMO Simulation (pp. 43-50). Springer, Cham.
Winter, R. M. (2019). The benefit of utilizing brain-based learning in higher education online environments. Journal of Instructional Research, 8(1), 82-91.