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In her article “The Correlation Between Brain Development, Language Acquisition, and Cognition,” Leslie Wasserman (2007) profiles developments in brain research and how early childhood educators should integrate this research, even though the topic is controversial…
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Article Analysis Your Your Article Analysis In her article “The Correlation Between Brain Development, Language Acquisition, and Cognition,” Leslie Wasserman (2007) profiles developments in brain research and how early childhood educators should integrate this research, even though the topic is controversial. Wasserman notes that new technologies, such as the functional MRI, have evolved, and these technologies allow scientists to view the physical brain and how it develops. Due to these technological advances, researchers have discarded old theories of learning such as left-brained and right-brained. Based on the new ability to scan the brain, researchers have developed new theories about language acquisition that focus on “critical windows of learning” (Wasserman, 2007). This theory that emphasizes critical windows of learning states that children’s brains can learn certain skills, such as language, only during short windows of time. Once the window has closed, the child cannot learn that skill. Wasserman argues that educators must embrace this new research in order to address the needs of at-risk students. Though Wasserman acknowledges that this research is still being debated, she believes that educators should use the theory just as educators in the past used the research of Piaget, Skinner, and others before it was officially accepted.
Classroom accommodations that Wasserman emphasizes are using neuroscience to identify at-risk students. Once a brain scan identifies a student, the educator should use the critical windows of learning to identify what the child has learned and is capable of learning. Additionally, she calls for educators to use brain-based research to change the way they teach. In her words, “Sequential knowledge is harder for the brain to process. Nonlinear learning in bits and pieces is easier for the brain to process” (Wasserman, 2007). Public education classrooms focus entirely on sitting in a desk and learning knowledge sequentially. Educators should adopt teaching that allows for nonlinear learning. In other words, the classroom that Wasserman envisions does not have students all sitting quietly at a desk listening to the teacher. Instead, it is a classroom that is full of energy where students are learning and discovering as their brains lead them.
Wasserman’s article covered the basics of brain-based research in a method and language that was easy to understand. Since the audience is public educators, language that is too complex would be detrimental to her purpose as an educator would not read information that he could not understand. The application of brain-based research in the classroom was lacking. Wasserman merely argued that educators should use the new research to identify at-risk students and to teach in a nonlinear fashion. However, she never gave any specific methods for teaching nonlinearly. Because she did not provide specifics, the article has little application for the professional educator.
On the whole, the article works as an informative piece. An educator unfamiliar with the very basics of brain-based research would find the essentials here. The tone of the piece is persuasive, but the point Wasserman is making is not difficult to understand nor would many educators resist it. She seems to be targeting educators who insist on adhering to the old learning theories of Skinner, Piaget, Vygotsky, and others instead of staying current on new research related to learning. These educators do their students a disservice because they do not employ the best methods for learning that research supports.
Wasserman, L. (2007). The correlation between brain development, language acquisition, and cognition. Early Childhood Education Journal, 34(6), 415-418. doi: 10.107 Read More
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