Networks of the Mind: Learning, Culture and Neuroscience
To Be Published November 1st 2013 by Routledge – 256 pages
This ground breaking book is unique in bringing together two perspectives on learning, sociocultural theory and neuroscience, to draw out and foreground important developments in our understanding of what learning is, where and how learning occurs and what we can do to understand learning as an everyday process.
Leading experts from both disciplines demonstrate how sociocultural ideas (such as the relevance of experience/opportunity to learn/environment, personal histories, meaning, participation, emotion and feelings of belonging, emotion and memory) align with and reflect upon new understandings emerging from neuroscience concerning plasticity and sensitive periods, mirror neurons and neural networks.
The authors believe that the integration of these perspectives on learning will develop new understandings of learning and teaching. It has also been shown that educational foundations laid in childhood have lifelong learning outcomes in cognitive and emotional behavior, economic productivity and physical and mental health. Many traditional learning practices prevent neural networks from strengthening and as a result the process of learning is shut down in childhood. The brain needs a variety of learning strategies and experiences in order to orchestrate a complete learning experience, yet learning is still viewed as something to attain and possess, rather than something we do and become.
To date sociocultural and neuroscientific perspectives have not been brought together in any clear or concise way. It is the contention of this book that from the integration of these two perspectives will emerge deeper insights into what learning is, as well as where and how it occurs. This fascinating and accessible text uses case studies and examples of practice as well as theory to demonstrate that though the language of sociocultural theory and that of neuroscience appear very different, ultimately the concepts of both perspectives align and converge around a cohesive set of principals.
Areas covered include:-
Introduction: All by Myself? Deconstructing the Architecture of Mind
Chapter 1: Culture, Socioculture and Neuroculture
Chapter 2: Learning and Meaning
Chapter 3: Experience, Environment and Plasticity
Chapter 4: Social Interaction, Mind and Brain
Chapter 5: Remembering and Forgetting
Chapter 6: Vision, Movement and Mind
Chapter 7: Emotions and Motivation
Chapter 8: Intelligence, Attention and Performance
Chapter 9: Giftedness, Ability and Talent
Chapter 10: Curiosity, Creativity and Passion
Chapter 11: Doing and Deciding
Chapter 12: Literacy and Numeracy
Chapter 13: Language and Living
Chapter 14: Consciousness and Unconsciousness
Conclusion – If I am not by? myself? Reconstructing the Architecture of the Mind
Kathy Hall is Professor and Head of the School of Education in University College Cork. She has extensive experience of publication and research having over 100 publications and having led several research projects pertaining to learning, teaching, assessment, literacy, and pedagogy. She is Editor of the United Kingdom Literacy Association’s (UKLA) international journal, Literacy.
Dr Vanessa Rutherford is a researcher in the School of Education, UCC. Specific research includes: aspects of childhood including child-rearing practices, child mortality, child nutrition, child education, development and well-being, child recreation and play. She has presented papers nationally (Royal Academy of Medicine in Ireland, Royal College of Physicians, NUI Maynooth, and University of Limerick) and internationally (Geneva Medical School, Roskilde University, Denmark). Vanessa is working on several papers and publications including, Children, Childhood and Irish Society from 1800.
Alicia Curtin is a post-doc researcher in the School of Education in UCC. Her pioneering study, based on adolescents’ out-of-school learning drawing on sociocultural perspectives is highly relevant to the ideas in this book. Alicia has experience of primary and secondary teaching and is currently working on several publications including a chapter in the forthcoming Wiley-Blackwell International Handbook of Research in Children's Literacy, Learning and Culture to be published in 2012.