Brain Research Sheds New Light on Student Learning, Teaching Strategies, and Disabilities

Though still in its infancy, brain research offers intriguing insights into how students learn and how special education teachers can alter strategies to make their instruction more effective. Brain research is also supplying some different ways of looking at disabilities such as dyslexia and Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder and providing alternative methods to help students with these disabilities.

However, brain research applied to education is receiving mixed reviews. The good news is that brain research is validating many “good teaching practices” educators, especially special educators, are already using. On the other hand, some experts warn that the field is still very young and another 50 years or so is needed before brain research will have developed to the point where it can provide information that will truly inform us about effective instructional strategies. Even with that caveat, brain research is providing information that educators can use to refine their practice and better engage students in meaningful learning. It also gives educators alternative ways to look at some disabilities and provides some exciting possibilities for the future of special education practice.

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