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Teaching About "Brain and Learning" in High School Biology Classes: Effects on Teachers' Knowledge and Students' Theory of Intelligence.

Dekker S, Jolles J - Front Psychol (2015)

Bottom Line: Results indicated that before intervention, biology teachers were significantly less familiar with how the brain functions and develops than with its structure and with basic neuroscientific concepts (46 vs. 75% correct answers).After intervention, teachers' knowledge of "Brain and Learning" had significantly increased (64%), and more students believed that intelligence is malleable (incremental theory).This emphasizes the potential value of a short teaching module, both for improving biology teachers' insights into "Brain and Learning," and for changing students' beliefs about intelligence.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Department of Educational Neuroscience, Faculty of Behavioural and Movement Sciences, VU University Amsterdam Amsterdam, Netherlands ; Science Hub Radboud University, Institute for Science, Innovation and Society, Faculty of Science, Radboud University Nijmegen, Netherlands.

ABSTRACT
This study evaluated a new teaching module about "Brain and Learning" using a controlled design. The module was implemented in high school biology classes and comprised three lessons: (1) brain processes underlying learning; (2) neuropsychological development during adolescence; and (3) lifestyle factors that influence learning performance. Participants were 32 biology teachers who were interested in "Brain and Learning" and 1241 students in grades 8-9. Teachers' knowledge and students' beliefs about learning potential were examined using online questionnaires. Results indicated that before intervention, biology teachers were significantly less familiar with how the brain functions and develops than with its structure and with basic neuroscientific concepts (46 vs. 75% correct answers). After intervention, teachers' knowledge of "Brain and Learning" had significantly increased (64%), and more students believed that intelligence is malleable (incremental theory). This emphasizes the potential value of a short teaching module, both for improving biology teachers' insights into "Brain and Learning," and for changing students' beliefs about intelligence.

No MeSH data available.


Distribution of TOI among the control and intervention group. *p < 0.05.
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Figure 2: Distribution of TOI among the control and intervention group. *p < 0.05.

Mentions: The distribution over four types of TOI (strong entity, moderate entity, moderate incremental, strong incremental) was examined for both groups using Chi-square tests. A significant between-group difference was found in TOI, , p = 0.002. Figure 2 displays the distribution of the different theories for both the intervention and the control group. The standardized residuals of each category showed that only the strong incremental view was more frequent in the intervention group (29%, z = 2.4, p < 0.05) than in the control group (21%, z = −1.8, p > 0.05). Thus, students were more likely to hold a strong incremental theory when they had been taught a module that addressed brain plasticity. The numbers indicate that without intervention, 4 out of 20 students think that intelligence is very malleable and changeable through experience. After intervention, this increases to 6 out of 20 students. There were no significant group differences for the moderate incremental or entity categories.


Teaching About "Brain and Learning" in High School Biology Classes: Effects on Teachers' Knowledge and Students' Theory of Intelligence.

Dekker S, Jolles J - Front Psychol (2015)

Distribution of TOI among the control and intervention group. *p < 0.05.
© Copyright Policy
Related In: Results  -  Collection

License
Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC4664647&req=5

Figure 2: Distribution of TOI among the control and intervention group. *p < 0.05.
Mentions: The distribution over four types of TOI (strong entity, moderate entity, moderate incremental, strong incremental) was examined for both groups using Chi-square tests. A significant between-group difference was found in TOI, , p = 0.002. Figure 2 displays the distribution of the different theories for both the intervention and the control group. The standardized residuals of each category showed that only the strong incremental view was more frequent in the intervention group (29%, z = 2.4, p < 0.05) than in the control group (21%, z = −1.8, p > 0.05). Thus, students were more likely to hold a strong incremental theory when they had been taught a module that addressed brain plasticity. The numbers indicate that without intervention, 4 out of 20 students think that intelligence is very malleable and changeable through experience. After intervention, this increases to 6 out of 20 students. There were no significant group differences for the moderate incremental or entity categories.

Bottom Line: Results indicated that before intervention, biology teachers were significantly less familiar with how the brain functions and develops than with its structure and with basic neuroscientific concepts (46 vs. 75% correct answers).After intervention, teachers' knowledge of "Brain and Learning" had significantly increased (64%), and more students believed that intelligence is malleable (incremental theory).This emphasizes the potential value of a short teaching module, both for improving biology teachers' insights into "Brain and Learning," and for changing students' beliefs about intelligence.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Department of Educational Neuroscience, Faculty of Behavioural and Movement Sciences, VU University Amsterdam Amsterdam, Netherlands ; Science Hub Radboud University, Institute for Science, Innovation and Society, Faculty of Science, Radboud University Nijmegen, Netherlands.

ABSTRACT
This study evaluated a new teaching module about "Brain and Learning" using a controlled design. The module was implemented in high school biology classes and comprised three lessons: (1) brain processes underlying learning; (2) neuropsychological development during adolescence; and (3) lifestyle factors that influence learning performance. Participants were 32 biology teachers who were interested in "Brain and Learning" and 1241 students in grades 8-9. Teachers' knowledge and students' beliefs about learning potential were examined using online questionnaires. Results indicated that before intervention, biology teachers were significantly less familiar with how the brain functions and develops than with its structure and with basic neuroscientific concepts (46 vs. 75% correct answers). After intervention, teachers' knowledge of "Brain and Learning" had significantly increased (64%), and more students believed that intelligence is malleable (incremental theory). This emphasizes the potential value of a short teaching module, both for improving biology teachers' insights into "Brain and Learning," and for changing students' beliefs about intelligence.

No MeSH data available.