David A. Sousa’s Commentary on MBE


The notions that MBE Science has challenged so far through educational neuroscience:

  • neuroplasticity: it was reaffirmed that the human brain continually reorganizes itself on the basis of input
  • neurogenesis: neurons in the brain do regenerate, regenerating neurons enhance learning and memory, physical exercise, in part, stimulates neurogenesis
  • the multitasking became alternate tasking, the brain shifts from one to another but never engages in both tasks simultaneously
  • learning two languages simultaneously is no problem for the young brain’s language processing networks, and it helps the learners grasp the deeper structure of languages
  • good readers use different neural pathways while reading than struggling readers
  • capacity limits of working memory — that is, the number of items it can hold at any one time—is inexplicably decreasing from about seven items to about five
  • brain’s attention systems, and experiences involving emotions are much more likely to be remembered 
  • critical role of movement and exercise in learning and memory
  • the frontal lobe, or rational part of the teenage brain, takes about 22 to 24 years to fully develop, while the emotional parts of the brain develop in about 10 to 12 years
  • our ability to focus naturally wanes for 30 to 45 minutes just past the middle of the day helps to explain why teaching and learning can be more difficult during that time
  • effects of sleep deprivation and stress on learning and memory, stress causes an increase in blood levels of the hormone cortisol. This hormone reduces one’s ability to focus and impairs memory
  • intelligence and creativity are separate abilities that are not genetically fixed, and that both can be modified by the environment and schooling
  • exposure to the arts can increase one’s attention, spatial skills, and creativity
  • a school’s social and cultural climates affect teaching and learning.



Mind, Brain, and Education: Implications for Educators, (ed.) Lynn Butler-Kisber, Autumn 2011 Vol. 5 No. 1, Quebec: LEARN, full publication available here

Image available here

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