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Habit formation limits growth in teacher effectiveness: A review of converging evidence from neuroscience and social science

Hobbiss, M; Sims, S; Allen, R; (2021) Habit formation limits growth in teacher effectiveness: A review of converging evidence from neuroscience and social science. Review of Education , 9 (1) pp. 3-23. 10.1002/rev3.3226. Green open access

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Abstract

Teachers become rapidly more effective during the early years of their career but tend to improve increasingly slowly thereafter. This article reviews and synthesises converging evidence from neuroscience, psychology, economics and education suggesting that teachers’ rate of growth slows because their practice becomes habitual. First, we review evidence suggesting that teaching is highly conducive to habit formation and that teachers display characteristic features of habitual behaviour. Next, we review empirical findings that performance asymptotes, as seen in teachers’ learning curves, coincide with the reallocation of behaviour regulation to neural circuits governing habitual behaviour. Finally, original data is presented showing that teachers’ behaviour becomes automatic around the time that teacher effectiveness begins to level off. Collectively, this evidence implies that professional development should involve repeated practice in realistic settings in order to overwrite and upgrade existing habits.

Type: Article
Title: Habit formation limits growth in teacher effectiveness: A review of converging evidence from neuroscience and social science
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1002/rev3.3226
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1002/rev3.3226
Language: English
Additional information: This version is the author accepted manuscript. For information on re-use, please refer to the publisher's terms and conditions.
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education > UCL Institute of Education
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education > UCL Institute of Education > IOE - Learning and Leadership
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education > UCL Institute of Education > IOE - Learning and Leadership > Centre for Education Policy and Equalising Opportunities
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10112132
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