As we have seen in the previous article, neuromyths are the
result of a number of factors, including cognitive biases. For Pasquinelli,
combating neuromyths and their dubious commercial exploitation is necessary.
Practices based on neuromyths can be detrimental, indirectly. Although drinking
water, brain training, sudoku and listening to Mozart from birth are not
unacceptable in themselves, these practices do not scientifically prove that
learning abilities are improved. Whenever these methods are adopted, time and
budget constraints may hinder other methods proven to be useful. The case is
analogous to homeopathy (see the article on "homeopathy"), causing
secondary harm by discouraging patients from following truly effective
Neuromyths. Source :ebpquebec.com
How to act to avoid neuromyths and to have access to useful
Dissipating the neuromyths is necessary since they
contribute to the misunderstanding of certain processes. By reducing their
impact, this would make it possible to make full use of scientific knowledge
about the mind and the brain. Although they are natural phenomena, just like
prejudices, neuromyths always reflect an erroneous vision of information, which
can lead to the implementation of unsuitable methods in classrooms. Even if
neuromyths do not lead to lethal choices, their growth threatens programmes to
develop evidence-based approaches. The OECD (Organisation for Economic
Co-operation and Development) draws attention to the problem of neuromyths,
while advocating that teaching and learning techniques and methods should be
scientifically validated. What action can therefore be taken in response to
The usefulness of training courses.
For Papadatou-Pastou and
his colleagues, teachers recognise the importance of knowledge about the brain
in order to orient their teaching towards best practice and to avoid
neuromyths. It would be interesting to improve the neuroscience knowledge of
future teachers by integrating courses into their initial training. Indeed,
many authors and organisations have suggested that neuroscience should be
integrated into preservice teacher education (Papadatou-Pastou et al., 2017;
Goswami, 2006; HowardJones, 2014; Rato et al., 2013; Tardif et al., 2015).
Education needs to evolve with the times and thus incorporate new knowledge and
current skills. Psychology (cognitive, developmental and social) already plays
an important role in teacher education. Cognitive, developmental and social
neurosciences can broaden the learning horizons of these disciplines and
complementthem by adding an additional, neurobiological level of
explanation, deepening teachers' understanding of learning processes.
Neuroscience should aim to help future teachers to acquire a better understanding of education-related topics and not be used as a normative tool.
In addition to advancing
the neuroscience knowledge of teachers, improved communication between
scientists and practitioners could help prevent misconceptions from recurring.
For Dekker, a possible framework for this is to let teachers
choose the themes for neuroscience workshops and to devote considerable time to
dialogue between neuroscientists and teachers to reflect on how to translate
this knowledge into practices that can be implemented in the classroom.
The initial and in-service training of
teachers should therefore include the skills needed to evaluate scientific
research and be sensitised to critical thinking. This would enable teachers to
develop a critical attitude towards the information they receive and to examine
scientific evidence before including neuroscientific findings in their teaching
Understand how research works.
As well as developing the
critical thinking skills of teachers, improving understanding of how research
is conducted and presented in neuroscience could help in the dissolution of
neuromyths. For Wechsler and his colleagues, neuroscience being a constantly
evolving field, teachers should be able to keep up with new discoveries by
effectively reading and evaluating the information they are bound to encounter
according to the sources used, through critical thinking but also through a
better understanding of how research works.
Make scientific information accessible.
For Schwartz, the
solution to correcting false beliefs and increasing public knowledge without
propagating misinformation is first and foremost to make information accessible
and understandable to the greatest number of people. And that's just as well,
because that's the mission Cortex has set itself!
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