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The purpose of this paper is to describe two cycles of learning study (LS) involving eight elementary teachers in British Columbia, Canada. The study explored the…
The purpose of this paper is to describe two cycles of learning study (LS) involving eight elementary teachers in British Columbia, Canada. The study explored the teachers’ experiences of learning to plan and teach lessons as informed by recent brain research.
The case study was constructed using data sources including teacher semi-structured interviews (pre-study, post-study and delayed post-study), classroom materials (including student assignments), LS training materials, fieldnotes and recordings of meetings and research lessons; sources were triangulated. Thematic analysis was applied. Contemporary neuroscience perspectives framed the LS discourse and analysis.
The teachers developed theoretical coherence and could better articulate reasons for their pedagogy. They developed understandings of the cognitive architecture underlying functions like learning and memory, allowing them to identify pedagogical actions that are consistent with human biology and understand why these actions are effective in promoting learning.
LS is shown to be an effective professional development (PD) model where theoretical knowledge, like neuroscience, could be employed and tested in classroom settings to provide depth to support teachers’ praxis. This teaching–research nexus supports exploration of fruitful connections between theoretical knowledge and education to advance the science of learning and the science of instruction.
Findings demonstrated how LS could be employed with alternative theoretical perspectives to promote teacher PD, thus extending beyond the dominant use of variation theory. Also, illustrated is the potential use of LS to bridge the knowledge gap between neuroscience and education.