Jo Boaler, Professor of Mathematics Education (Stanford University) spoke about some brain research, in relation to learning.
She spoke about the ability of students to achieve at highest level of maths throughout school life in relation to how learning takes place in the brain.
- How a synapse fires when learning occurs
- The growing and shrinking of hippocampus when in learning and not learning, with example of London Cab drivers
Jo also spoke about how the mixture of abilities in a class of students comes from the different experiences that students had since childhood. These different experiences caused synapses to be formed differently in students’ brains. As such, some students are capable to do tasks easily, which might be a challenge for others. These abilities do not provide a full representation of students’ potential of future learning. Teachers/parents should re-think about the outdated models of ‘fixed ability’ thinking, as to brand a child as ‘low ability’ or ‘high ability’. All students have the ability to learn! Just the question on HOW.
- Here are some pointers on how fixed-ability thinking can limit learning.
- The Learning Without Limits project is a project by University of Cambridge (Faculty of Education) dedicated to developing approaches to teaching and learning that do not rely on determinist beliefs about ability.
- Tiny communication network in brain (Synapses)