June 4, 2006
At first glimpse, the extensive discipline of cognitive neuroscience may seem completely unrelated to the field of education. However, there are many practical implications to this field of research that can be applied within a typical classroom setting. The art of effective teaching requires educators to not merely understand and appreciate the varying personality differences and learning styles of their students, but to comprehend the brain and its functions. The implications of neuroscience are crucial for any teacher seeking to make a lasting impression on a student's mind. In order to teach the mind, one must access the brain. This is particularly true at the elementary level, where young students are learning critical components that will be their basis for learning for years to come. In order to effectively teach a subject like reading, for instance, a teacher should understand the neuro-cognitive systems that enable students to succeed in phonetics, sentence structure, and language development. Knowledge of cognitive neuroscience can aide reading teachers to know which neuron connectors are stimulated during reading, and thus be able to focus in on reading activities that enable better reading. Yet before this can happen, educators must develop an understanding of what cognitive neuroscience is. Essentially, neuroscience is concerned with understanding how mental processes take place in the brain, and studies the neural mechanisms triggering cognition. Some areas of interest under investigation in the field of cognitive neuroscience are decision-making skills, memory, consciousness, visual perception, and attention. Neuroscience is the study of the human nervous system, the brain, and the biological basis of consciousness, perception, memory, and learning. The nervous system and the brain are the physical foundation of...