Next week we have a Faculty research conference on the theme of ‘power’ at which I will be offering the following paper (abstract below). I’d love to hear people’s thoughts.
The Power of the Brain Image: on the indoctrinatory use of neurobiological narratives to improve student motivation and achievement
A chapter introducing neuroscience to beginner teachers offers a ‘brain plasticity intervention’ as one of two headline illustrations of the power of brain science to improve children’s learning (Howard-Jones 2013). The claim – that ‘simply knowing about brain plasticity can improve the self-concept and academic potential of learners’ – seems well supported by intervention studies.
I begin by considering the possibility that alternative narratives might have similar effects on student motivation. I will discuss an intervention (Boddie 2015) that employs a narrative from Sartrean existentialist philosophy (‘existence precedes essence’) to make a comparable impact on student motivation.
It might be objected…
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