Literature review of Educational Neuroscience
Purpose: The broad purpose of this assessment is to expand your critical thinking and academic writing skills using Bruer's 1997 article as a compelling entry-point into the literatures on educational neuroscience and some of the broader debates within this context.
In his seminal article, titled ‘Education and the brain: A bridge too far’, John Bruer (1997) makes the following statement:
“The brain does and should fascinate all of us, and we should find advances in neuroscience exciting. As educators, we should also be interested in how basic research might contribute to and improve educational practice. However, we should be wary of claims that neuroscience has much to tell us about education, particularly if those claims derive from the neuroscience and education argument. The neuroscience and education argument attempts to link learning, particularly early childhood learning, with what neuroscience has discovered about neural development and synaptic change. Neuroscience has discovered a great deal about neurons and synapses, but not nearly enough to guide educational practice. Currently, the span between brain and learning cannot support much of a load. Too many people marching in step across it could be dangerous (p.15).”
Full article: Bruer, J. T. (1997). Education and the brain: A bridge too far. Educational Researcher, 26(8), 4-16.
Write a critical essay drawing upon at least Five Peer-Reviewed Articles that address the issues highlighted in Bruer's above statement.
We ask that you respond to Bruer’s statement with the support of evidence from peer-reviewed literature. You may find it helpful to draw upon findings from educational, neuroscientific, and / or psychological research.
What is meant by the term 'literature review'? The notion of a 'literature review' is interpreted differentially in different disciplines. In fact, there are dozens (if not more) types of literature review methods and often it depends on the requirements of the journal to which one is submitting. Systematic reviews, for example, can take the form of meta-analyses or narrative empirical reviews; the former uses quantitative summaries of the literature while the latter focuses more on research design, implications, and methodological issues. Yet both are considered different forms of literature reviews. We use the term as a face-value statement – it literally means reading and reviewing (then summarising in your own words) five or more peer-reviewed studies from the literature that support your arguments and claims nested within the wider context of a critical essay responding to Bruer's statement. The literature that you draw upon can come directly from educational neuroscience (e.g., Bruer, Bower, Horvath, etc) or from any one of the TLL disciplines (neuroscience, psychology, and / or education).
Some helpful things to include in your review of a peer reviewed article may be:
• 'What' = What was done in the study and what were the central findings? What makes it worth including in your review?
• 'How' = What type of study design was it and what research methods did they use? (e.g., correlation study, experiment, RCT, field trial, meta-analysis, conceptual review, literature review, intervention study, pre-post, simulation, etc.)
• 'Why' = Why did the research take place and what research question were they trying to answer?
• 'Who' = What type of participants were used in this study? (eg, students, teachers, general public, children 6 - 8 years, healthy adults, etc.)
• 'Author / Year' = Who wrote this peer reviewed article and when? (this should be evident in your APA citation)
You may find it helpful to organise your content around the following word counts:
1. Introduction ( 300 words)
2. Paragraphs 1 – 8 (150 to 200 words each 1500 words)
3. Conclusion ( 200 words)
4. References must be in APA format.
We recommend including at least five relevant peer-reviewed articles in your review of the literature. This is not a strict criterion; however, and full marks can be awarded with the inclusion of more articles.
Here are some potentially helpful readings to begin your research (be sure to explore the full text by Bruer, 1997):
• Bruer, J. T. (1997). Education and the brain: A bridge too far. Educational Researcher, 26(8), 4-16.
• Horvath, J. C., & Donoghue, G. M. (2016). A Bridge Too Far – Revisited: Reframing Bruer’s Neuroeducation Argument for Modern Science of Learning Practitioners. Frontiers in psychology, 7, 377.
• Lawson, A. E. (2006). Points of view: on the implications of neuroscience research for science teaching and learning: are there any? CBE-Life Sciences Education, 5(2), 111-117.