The case of teachers and neuroscience:how do teachers mediate information about the brain?

Tibke, Jonathan (2019) The case of teachers and neuroscience:how do teachers mediate information about the brain? PhD thesis, UNSPECIFIED.

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A number of researchers both in the U.K. and elsewhere have investigated what teachers know about the brain. However, much less is understood about how teachers acquire and make sense of this knowledge and how it subsequently manifests itself in their practice. This thesis proposes that such an understanding is currently a significant missing component in the interaction between teaching and neuroscience, or teachers and neuroscientists. This qualitative research presents an analysis of eight semi-structured interviews with five teachers who work in different contexts, as well as exploring data gathered via a survey of 102 teachers from schools across England and Wales. The research has explored a range of relevant literature, in relation to the brain, educational neuroscience and professional learning of teachers, as well as literature relating to the methodological paradigm and methods adopted for the research. Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis (IPA) has supported interpretation of the teachers’ experiences of the brain and educational neuroscience. In addition, Cultural Historical Activity Theory (CHAT) has supported examination of the influence of the teachers’ working contexts. Data coding facilitated the framing of the codes within seven themes: (i) knowledge and sources, (ii) meaning making, (iii) external pressures and working contexts, (iv) environment and lifestyle, (v) medical and Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND), (vi) products and (vii) child development. These themes capture the teachers’ descriptions of how they experience information about the brain and educational neuroscience and ways in which they act upon this knowledge and experience. The themes provide a framework both for further investigation and as areas of experience through which to enhance teachers’ knowledge and use of information about the brain and educational neuroscience. What is revealed through the data of the nuances of teachers’ thinking about the brain has the potential to contribute to improved understanding between teachers and neuroscientists. This relationship needs to recognise the essential, active role of teachers in translating educational neuroscience research into classroom practice.

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Thesis (PhD)
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29 Jul 2019 09:55
Last Modified:
12 Sep 2023 00:37