Q: Are there research projects that really link laboratory work with the educational everyday (school, classroom)?
Neuroscience, and, more generally, the affective and cognitive sciences, have been playing a key role for approximately 10 years in bringing together experts in the educational sciences to create initiatives aimed at developing ‘evidence-based education’. There are a number of new research centres interested in the links between neuroscience, psychology and education aimed expressly at establishing the link between laboratory and classroom. This research is published not only in books but in scientific journals. This even led to the creation of a new scientific journal entitled “Mind, Brain, and Education” in 2015.
The contribution of neuroscience and affective and cognitive science comes on the one hand from new research projects and intervention programmes establishing links between laboratory and school, and, on the other hand, from the use of research results and conclusions to inform the field of education in partnership with experts in the educational sciences. Such research projects concern work on reading or mathematics (see the article by Stanislas Dehaene below) as much as work on the emotions (see the RULER programme below). Sometimes these studies trigger controversies and it would seem that to really achieve a link between the laboratory and the educational everyday a step that is as important as it is rare would be for scientists, educational experts and teachers (not to mention pupils and parents) to work hand in hand to avoid minimising the complexity of the field and its variables that are difficult to control in the laboratory.
Q: What practical relations could or should be established between neuroscientific researchers and educational practitioners?
It should be possible to develop joint research projects that go from the laboratory to the school. If there is a very precise question that could be applicable for the educational world, it is possible to carry out laboratory studies to test hypotheses in as controlled a manner as possible from the experimental methodology point of view, then, step by step, together with practitioners, to take these experiments into schools, and, using intervention mechanisms in the classroom, put in place protocols to test whether an effect observed in the laboratory is sufficiently generalizable, strong and robust for subsequent application in a school programme.
A concrete way of proceeding, therefore, would be to design an in-school laboratory research programme involving a number of schools. For example, as part of SCAS, we have a project to test links between pupils’ emotional competencies, types of educational approach and school learning situations. We could, for example, look at the effects of controlling emotions and of understanding one’s own emotions not only on the well-being of children but also on their school performance.
A few weblinks:
International Mind, Brain and Education Society (IMBES)
The journal « Mind, Brain and Education » http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/journal/10.1111/(ISSN)1751-228X
Conferences on educational science and education (in French)
Series of lectures in French at the College de France “L'apport des sciences cognitives à l'école : quelle formation” (in French):
Mind, Brain, and Education
Emotional intelligence - RULER
By way of entry into this subject area, a collection of recent articles in French published by the ANAE - Approche Neuropsychologique des Apprentissages chez l'Enfant - ANAE N° 139 - Apprentissages, cognition et émotion (special issue compiled by Professor Édouard Gentaz).
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