What is “Brain-Based Learning”?

The Organ of Learning To many, the term “brain-based learning” sounds redundant. Isn’t all learning and teaching brain-based? Advocates of brain-based teaching insist that there is a difference between “brain-compatible” education, and “brain-antagonistic” teaching practices and methods which can actually prevent learning. In his book, Human Brain and Human Learning (1983), Leslie Hart argues that…

Our Working Brain, Working Memory – Part 2

Last month’s column introduced the concept of our working brain, the set of emotion/attention systems that identify and focus on current challenges. Our working brain must differentiate between what’s currently more and less important (foreground and background), focus on the foreground, and monitor the background in case something important occurs there. Our working brain is…

A Conversation With Bruce McEwen

In the life cycle of an academic research scientist, developmental maturation usually consists of achieving a secure tenured position, establishing a productive lab, and becoming a respected member of the scientific community. Once this is achieved, most academic researchers busy themselves with worrying about their next grant application or find themselves drawn into the inevitable…

Will the Real Brain-Based Learning Please Stand Up?

We’ve been hearing plenty about brain-based learning, but much of what we hear can be confusing. Not only are there arguments about how well brain-based learning works, there are arguments about whether such a thing such as brain-based learning exists at all. Like so much other recent brain-related news, discussions about brain-based learning have been…