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A qualitative investigation into experienced educators' responses to professional development incorporating contested neuroscience

Elton, Jacqueline Elizabeth; (2018) A qualitative investigation into experienced educators' responses to professional development incorporating contested neuroscience. Doctoral thesis (Ph.D), UCL (University College London). Green open access

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Abstract

Brain-based education is promoted by its supporters as a teaching innovation that will enhance teachers’ teaching effectiveness and support students’ achievement, enjoyment and engagement in the learning process. Equally though, it attracts criticism from those who argue that since it has misappropriated science in unacceptable ways, its use exposes teachers and students to dubious theory and untested practices. This inquiry was set within the context of a contemporary English local authority and a national education system characterised by a neo-liberal orientation. It capitalised on an opportunity to study how a particularly effective group of secondary practitioners responded in terms of their knowledge and practice to a range of brain-based models of practice, whose inclusion in professional development programme was aimed at improving teaching efficacy across the local authority. The little empirical research on brain-based education that has been undertaken displayed gaps that equated to practice and knowledge issues. Accordingly, the research question formulated for this investigation was How did professional development on brain-based education impact on the knowledge and practice of key secondary practitioners? An interpretivist paradigm led to a qualitative approach. Data collection methods encompassed semi-structured interviews, documentary analysis and non-participant observation: thematic analysis was used as the data analysis method. Key findings included that since their introduction, the use of brain-based models of practice had substantially declined. While practitioners continued to believe in the efficacy of brain-based education, many explained their brain-based practices in ways that did not accord with the original guidance or intent. Instead, the practitioners’ implementation of brain-based models of practice exploited their non-neuroscientific teaching and learning affordances in creative and imaginative ways to provide solutions for pressing problems induced by neo-liberal policies. Despite demonstrating a poor understanding of brain science and brain-based education knowledge, the majority of practitioners rejected the acquisition of neuroscience knowledge.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Qualification: Ph.D
Title: A qualitative investigation into experienced educators' responses to professional development incorporating contested neuroscience
Event: UCL (University College London)
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language: English
Additional information: Copyright © The Author 2018. Original content in this thesis is licensed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International (CC BY-NC 4.0) Licence (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/). Any third-party copyright material present remains the property of its respective owner(s) and is licensed under its existing terms. Access may initially be restricted at the author’s request.
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education > UCL Institute of Education
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10062147
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