In preparation for Neuroscience in Education: Braining up your English Lessons EVO sessions, I read The Art of Changing the Brain by James Zull. As you can see, the title of this book includes the word “art.” Although the field of education can be informed by science and quantitative research, I believe that teaching remains an art. When I read “Plenary: Neuroscience and teaching” in the IATEFL 2012 Glasgow Conference Selections, Zull discusses the question of how to change the brain and I found the following quotations that speak to the idea of teaching as an art:
“This is why the title of our first book is The Art of Changing the Brain. The skill of generating such change in learners remains an art. Many teachers have discovered their own art through years of experience, but still cannot explain or define its elements. And despite the intense interest in neuroscience, the art is not revealed there either.”
I think this is one of the main reasons I enjoyed Zull’s book so much; he incorporates the science of the brain with the art of teaching. Furthermore, he acknowledges the complexity of learners, teachers, and classrooms. As an educator, it makes sense to look at education in this way and I’m happy to have been a co-moderator of the EVO session Neuroscience in Education: Braining up your English Lessons.