Findings from Neuroscience Should Be Stirring Ethical Questions about the Very Nature of Education and Childcare

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Findings from Neuroscience Should Be Stirring Ethical Questions about the Very Nature of Education and Childcare

 

Introduction

Neuroscience is defined as the study of the nervous system (Zambo, 2013). Ethics is an area of study dealing with ideas on what is bad and good behavior. It is also a branch of philosophy that deals with what is wrong or right morally (Zambo, 2013). Kim & Sankey (2009) defined education as a process or act of acquiring or imparting general knowledge, developing the reasoning and judgment powers. Educational neuroscience is the intersection between education, brain and mind (Carter & Frith, 1998). According to Zambo (2013) the neuroscience findings have stirred ethical questions about education nature and the nature of the childcare. The essay will discuss and critically analyze the issues that draw link between ethics, neuroscience and the nature of education. The essay agrees that the findings from neuroscience are stirring ethical questions about the education nature and childcare.

Because of technological advancement, the field of neuroscience has been developing and growing rapidly. Kim & Sankey (2010) noted that because of the development in technology, the neuroscientists have observed the brain development, its functioning and how brain performs its tasks. However, with the technological advancement and innovation in the neuroscience field which mostly used technical jargon and complex findings, there arose challenges with the most notable one being an early childhood education (Geake 2009). There was a need of translating the technical findings into understandable and simpler information for the teachers to use in teaching the young children.

Moshman (2011) indicated that information about educational neuroscience is nowadays available in the curriculum books for the teachers. The information in the books according to Sylvan & Christodoulou (2010) helps the teachers in understanding how the young children lean, think and self regulate. However, Hruby & Goswami (2011) asserted that the information about educational neuroscience can also alter radically how children are taught and nurtured.

The brains of the young children are always unique and different, and this is because of their structures and functions, and this is also translated to the actions of the young students. For instance, in the brain structure, amygdale is a structure within the brain, and it works in collaboration with other structures to activate the flight or fight response. Understanding of the brain structure to an educational teacher is helpful in understanding why some young children tend to fear, similarly, understanding of the brain structure by the teachers will help them in understanding why some students have learning difficulties. Kim & Sankey (2009) asserted that the knowledge about neuroscience to the teachers is significant in understanding the biology of their student’s behaviors and learning.

Carter & Frith (1998) noted that as much as neuroscience has been simplified for the teachers for easy understanding and application in the classrooms, and it also has its limitation for the educators since it’s a complex field. As much as the teachers read about the structure, development and functioning of the brain, many teachers tend to bypass the limitation for the teachers on neuroscience and misuse or overextend ideas and knowledge from neuroscience. For instance, some teachers tend to apply hemispheric strategies to remedy complex problems of learning like autism and dyslexia. Furthermore, some teachers are in support of Ritalin and Adderall usage for the young students who suffer from attention problems. Ritalin and Adderall are psycho-stimulant drugs for self regulation and their proposition or recommendation by a teacher is too extreme in the neuroscience field, since there are limitations for the teachers.

Kim & Sankey (2010) noted that some of the teachers or pre-service school teachers easily believe in ideas or neuromyths with only minimal scientific truth. For instance, may teachers misquote, misread and over extend ideas from neuroscience to support their neuromyths and biasness. Most of the teachers do not get facts from the educational neuroscience textbooks, or open their minds for the valid information but mostly pay attention to what is aligned in their beliefs (Geake, 2009). Furthermore, they create narratives, come up with their own folk theories based on their beliefs they have recited and retold countless of times. This trend and tendency among most of the teachers has both ethical and educational implications (Moshman, 2011). According to Sylvan & Christodoulou (2010), fallacious beliefs about education and neuroscience could cause teachers to teat unfairly the young children, spend their hard earn cash on programs products that that are worthless and has no good, and lastly set low expectations. Similarly, Hruby & Goswami (2011) noted that neuromyths of the teachers have a major influence in shaping the views and perceptions of educators.

In a study conducted by Zambo & Zambo (2011), the findings indicated that the most educators have an interest in the field of neuroscience and therefore used television, internet, course and workshops to get more information about the subject. Simi8larly, the educators believed that neuroscience should be incorporated in their syllabus as part of their training and furthermore, they believed that this way will make them better teachers especially when they dealing with special need students. Zambo (2013) also indicated that their findings from their survey showed that the teachers believed that the strategies and products they are using assist significantly in learning because there exists a link with the neuroscience for example “brain gym,” and “Your Baby Can Read” among others. Generally, to most teachers, fads precede facts and research (Zambo & Zambo, 2011).

Zambo (2013) also indicated that when it came to believing in the neuroscience value for teachers, their study indicated that not all teachers believed it. Some believed in neuroscience wholeheartedly, few did not believe at all while others hold reservations. The believers of neuroscience saw neuroscientists as experts in the neuroscience fields and accept it because of its reliance on advanced technologies. They believe that the neuroscientists can tell them how and what to teach and because of that, they have a thirst for information. The believers there.............


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