23 SES 05 D, European Policies on the School Curriculum (Part 1)
Paper Session: to be continued in 23 SES 06 D
Emergent subject since 2000, educational neuroscience has a fascination power especially for politics and the media. Seeing how the brain works through elaborate images and complex calculations makes us believe that we know how to link brain functions and learning (for example the “reading neurons" !) From a political point of view, these “discoveries” seem more efficient to implement reforms in the classroom than any educational research results. Why do politicians, or why do educative policy need to rely on what they call "scientifically-based research"? They may have the illusion (generally encouraged by neuroscientists themselves) that solutions for all educational issues will come out of the structured methods used in neuroscience experiments, with no regards what so ever for educational research. But technical tools used in neuroscience are not yet as accurate as we can expect and neuroscientific results in the field of cognition must be considered carefully, some of them waiting to be confirmed by the research community. Besides, many cognitive neuroscientific researches sometimes try to confirm what was already demonstrated by previous psychological researchers.
In this context, the gap between the on-going international researches and the extrapolated results may give birth to misinterpretations of neuroscientific facts, the neuromyths. Decision makers around the world as well as teachers (and parents) should therefore be more informed about neuroscientific discoveries and their limitations regarding pedagogical objectives.
Based on the raging discussion in France about the teaching of reading, we will discuss in this paper the following questions:
- can neuroscientific results be applied directly from the laboratory to the classroom?
- what are the consequences of any experiment on students from an ethical point of view and what is the responsability of policy makers in the interpretation of their results?
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