Neuroscience and Adult Learning

Cozolino, L., & Sprokay, S. (2006). Neuroscience and adult learning. In S. Johnson & K. Taylor (Eds.), The neuroscience of adult learning, pp. 11-20.

  • The environment needs to be engaging and stimulating. Too excessive, the environment is too distracting; not enough, the environment is boring.
  • The learning environment should have the following learning principles:

    • "A safe and trusting relationship with an attuned other
    • Maintenance of a moderate level of arousal
    • Activation of both thinking and feeling
    • A language of self-reflection
    • Coconstruction of narrative that reflects a positive and optimistic self (p. 12)"
  •  It wasn't until the 1970s that the brain was finally recognized as a social organ. Social context matters, and the brain cannot be studied devoid of social matters. (I wonder how this relates to socio-cultural learning???)
  • "Stress in the learning environment, negative memories from past learning experiences, or problems in a student's life can also truncate learning ability (p. 14)."
  • The feeling of evaluation triggers stress. (This has implications for supervision.)
  • "Through encouragement, not taking anger personally, and finding creative ways for a struggling student to approach difficult material, excellent teachers create emotionally supportive learning experiences that can rebuild the brains for their students (p. 15)."
  • Narratives are powerful as are experiences in self-reflective thought. To support these types of learning experiences, adults should engage in reflective journals and discussions.
  • "Adult learners are likely to do better in learning concepts and principles that tie to their experience and allow them to expand existing knowledge (p. 17)."