Kurt Fischer: Connecting Mind, Brain, and Education

Kurt Fischer

Kurt Fischer

Kurt Fischer leads an international movement to connect biology and cognitive science to education, and is founding editor of the journal Mind, Brain, and Education (Blackwell) As Director of the Mind, Brain, and Education Program and Charles Bigelow Professor at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, he does research on cognition, emotion, and learning and their relation to biological development and educational assessment.

Actually we are treating student as disembodied brains into which we pump knowledge. A better model is active intelligence. Learning experiences literally shape how neurons in the brain connect with one another. Learning requires building a new network on our brain.

There are some Illegitimate claims from neuroscience:

  • Learning involves filling our brains with Knowledge – not true
  • There are left-brain and right brain people – no true
  • We only use half or less of our brains – not true
  • Boys & girls have fundamentally different brains – not true

In his research he has discovered a general scale that provides tools for assessing learning and development in any domain. Among his other discoveries are that people move through different learning pathways while at the same time they show common (universal) processes of learning and development.

From the visual recognition the brain starts to work in every part of it, like an orchestra. The different parts of the brain work together.

Q: how the activity varies from individual to individual?

Fischer: the animation I showed… every person has a different approach to learning. We have a focus on difference. Different people learn differently.

Need for research schools: research and development for schools… this is a call!  Research and development are commonplace in most industries and fields. Educational theory should be tested by its consequences in action. Educating 25% of our students successfully is not good enough!

That’s way Is necessary to analyze the brain looking for patterns instead than locations… patters show us what we do while learning. And to understand the brain pathways can help us to design better education models.

Recommended readings:

Original posted by Gerard Pagès i Camps on Monday, November 26, 2012 on IX International Seminar: Transformative Changes in Education, System-wide Approach (2012)  for the UNESCO Chair eLearning.UOC