Sunday, February 24, 2013


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.


Gretchen Clark said...

Hey Mary-- I just finished the Zull book last night and plan to reread it! It was fascinating! Glad you're blogging about it here. Look for some posts from me about it next week. In other news, I just spent an hour (!) trying to figure out how to make an 'about' page on my blog. It's there now, check it out!

Mary H said...

Wow, thanks for reading and commenting on my blog, Gretchen! I'll check out yours now. Looking forward to more conversations online and in person!

Thomas Bieri said...

Hi Mary,
I was just exploring voicethread and found an idea about sharing things globally that was credited to you and linked to something you had put up and I wondered if it was you and followed links to your blog. Small world! In MI right now, freezing here (well, finally has edged up over the freezing point and the copious snow and ice is melting a bit).

Mary H said...

Hi Thomas,
I hadn't seen that resource about Voicethread before so thanks for pointing it out to me. Are you doing some kind of course in online learning? I'm freezing here in Japan too ;)