ERIC Number: EJ1089226
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2015
Abstractor: As Provided
From "Somatic Scandals" to "A Constant Potential for Violence"? The Culture of Dissection, Brain-Based Learning, and the Rewriting/Rewiring of "The Child"
Journal of Curriculum and Pedagogy, v12 n2 p168-197 2015
Within educational research across Europe and the US, one of the most rapidly traveling discourses and highly funded pursuits of the moment is brain-based learning (BBL). BBL is an approach to curriculum and pedagogical decision-making that is located within the new field of educational neuroscience. In some strands of BBL research the structure and function of the brain is located causally, as providing the sole and/or most important basis for making decisions about what and how to teach children. This article analyzes the "messy and numberless beginnings" of the hope placed upon neurological foundationalism to provide a solution to the "problem" of differences between students and to the achievement of educational goals. Rather than arguing for or against educational neuroscience, the article moves through five levels to examine the conditions of possibility for subscribing to the brain as a causal organological locus of learning. It maps pertinent historical conditions, including the relationship between technologies of self, histories and cultures of dissection, and arcs of discourse from soul-body to mind-body relations, as well as surveys more recent and pivotal examples of the movement from squeezing to scanning in modern mind-brain relation debates that have redefined "the ideal child." A range of contemporary fantasies, projections, and contestations of some of the central assumptions within "Western" conceptions of Being that sustain the conditions of possibility for BBL research are outlined. This includes the thorny problem of human-centrism even in those accounts that claim to question scientific materialist approaches to the nature of reality.
Descriptors: Brain, Neurosciences, Educational Research, Teaching Methods, Decision Making, Educational Objectives, Correlation, Self Concept, Academic Achievement, Western Civilization, Scientific Research, Human Body, Educational Philosophy, Cultural Influences
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
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