Although from the traditional paradigms of sociology to any approach to explain the social behavior of human that take the prefixes “bio” or “neuro-” tend to raise suspicions, even among the most culturalistas not even be granted a minimum of interest, in this weblog we consider with special attention the approaches, naturalists in the social sciences that try to provide a new heuristic framework to explain human behavior and cultural transformations from the perspective of bio-psycho-social. We contemplate that which comes to be known naturalist program for the social sciences, within which we can find a heterogeneity of disciplines such as: lto sociobiology (E. O. Wilson), the ecology of behavior (John R. Krebs, Nick Davies, Richard D. Alexander), meme (R. Dawkins; S. Blackmore; D. Dennett), the psychology of evolution (L. Cosmides and J. Tooby;D. Buss; S. Pinker), the epidemiology of representations (D. Sperberg: Explaining culture: a naturalistic approach) and the theories coevolutivas of the heritage dual (L. Cavalli-Sforza and M. W. Feelman; R. Boyd and P. Richerson), and the proposal of Homo Suadens of the brothers Castro Nogueira et al. that make it necessary for a reconceptualization of the human nature (In this weblog you can find a good number of entries on this thesis. See, for example: Homo Suadens: a new paradigm bio-psycho-social for the social sciences). Of course, they also have to accommodate the proposals originating in the light of “social neuroscience” (neuroscience, social), which are pioneers Gary Berntson and John Caciopp, and that in Spain it comes to knowing the term of the Neurosociología (See: Neurosociología: brain and social interaction of Vicente Huici Urmeneta [BAM University of Deusto / UNED-Bergara], communication in the XI Spanish Congress of Sociology, 2013)
In this entry we wish to make a small approach to the proto-discipline of the neuroeducación, in which the physiologist Francisco Mora is one of their main drivers in our country. The neuroeducación, a new approach born under the protection of this cultural revolution that has come to be called neurocultura, is a new vision of education based in the brain. The neuroeducación take advantage of the knowledge about how the brain works integrated with psychology, sociology and medicine, in an attempt to improve and enhance both learning and memory processes of the students, as the teaching by the teachers.
To get a rough idea about what is the neuroeducación, we have selected several links available in the network: two articles of the blog of Carlos Arroyo Assists the student in the Blogging Society of The Country; the conference “Neuroeducación. You can only learn what it loves” that Francisco Mora offered in the XI Course of Topical Scientific ‘Brain. Journey to the interior’, organized in the framework of the exhibition ‘Brain. Journey to the interior’ in march 2013; and interview with Francisco Mora in the program For All The 2 in may 2013.
Conference of Francisco Mora on Neuroeducación in the XI Course of Topical Scientific ‘Brain. Journey to the interior’
Interview: Francisco Mora in For All The 2
Neuroeducación in the student Help of Carlos Arroyo
In the following lines, we synthesized the three items (Neuroeducación I, II and III) published in the blog of Carlos Arroyo Assists the student in the Blogging Society of The Country, where he was invited by Francisco Mora, professor of Human Physiology (Complutense University), and professor adjunct of Molecular Physiology and Biophysics (University of Iowa, USA). Author of Neurocultura (Alliance) and Neuroeducación (Alliance).
Children should begin to learn in nature, not in the classroom
At the very moment of birth we are already learning. Learning is a process innate and integral to sustain life. It is essential for the species to survive. The need is more old of the world: how to eat, drink or reproduce. Any biological individual that he could not learn, or learn poorly, they would perish soon, as they would perish who does not eat or drink. Life would not be viable without the learning.
The molecular machinery of the process of learning is lost in the arcana of time: it already existed in unicellular beings, which is at least 3,000 million years. Learning involves a molecular process that has been developing and becoming more complex with the emergence of the nervous system, beginning with the invertebrates. A snail, for example, has a powerful machinery to neuronal with which it learns to distinguish in its environment that is good (a piece of food) that is bad (any intoxicating substance).
The brain of mammals, and among them the human being, has a design orchestrated by code inherited along the evolutionary process that will push all living beings to learn so spontaneous. Codes that appear on the genetic program for each species. At birth, the learning is the first mechanism in the brain that are active. Is the mechanism responsible for adaptation to environment and survival.
We’ve all seen on tv how the gazelle newly born try to stand in just a few minutes, and what makes learning of the reality of the world that pisa. The direct contact with the physical world is absolutely essential for the genetic codes to light and, with it, the machinery of learning. Learn learning: once set foot, the gazelle learns that he should not run for the prairie, exposed to predators, and makes it very attached to your mother, because you have already learned, a quick look, this protect you. That is learning, and the mechanisms that sustain it are the codes of sacred biological existence, let us say it once more, they hold the survival.
The learning of the human being is not, in its essence, very different from that just described. In its early years, the human being should also learn how the world is so direct in nature, and not in the classroom. It is true that, unlike the gazelle, the learning of the human being requires an active process on the part of others.
For example, the child of 2 or 3 years, now that we are realizing the scope and importance that education has in these ages, you should not be prompted to teach what is a flower more than in the field, making the child notice the flower in the context of the other flowers and leaves and branches, and looking at it in isolation, or in the set of other flowers. And you can take the flower, touching it and smelling it, and pulling the petals and do it both with a flower, smooth, acharolada and shiny, as with that which loses its glow and radiance, and even that which is, already dry, of that same flower. And so, with the leaves and branches of the trees. And as in this example, all learning of the world sensory-motor of the child of this age should be pulled up more of the reality in direct, and less of the photographs, videos or books, enclosed between the four walls of a nursery.
Just as well, naturally, you will not forget it never and, in addition, it will build the sensory elements solid with that then create the abstract and ideas, which are the atoms of thought. Only by learning well the specific perceptive can be learned well after those abstract , weaved in threads of time, constitute human reasoning.
Well, all this is orchestrated by the emotion, by the emotional brain. Everything there is in the world, if it is new, different and stands out from the monotony, arouses curiosity, one of the basic ingredients of the emotion. Curiosity is the key that opens the window of attention and she set in motion the neural mechanisms that are learned and memorized.
That is to say, the power of the emotion by what one sees, hears or touches is the central core of all learning, is at a very early age, as I just mentioned, whether any of the ages through which passes the arc vital to the human being, including their own aging process. No one can learn anything unless what you go to learn will motivate you,tell you something, has some meaning that will turn on emotionally.
Curiosity precedes the care. The care is born of something that can mean a reward (pleasure) or punishment (risk), and therefore have to see, I say it once more, with the survival of the individual. Attention is like a spotlight that illuminates what is ahead of us and what distinguishes it, whatdissected off of everything else. Outside of that focus is the penumbra, and it just if you can discriminate against something. It is with this light as it set in motion the neural mechanisms of learning and memory. And it is with this as knowledge is created.
Today the neuroscience begins to know the ingredients of these processes that are the excitement, curiosity, attention, perception and consciousness, learning and memory, and all other series of added physiological important to this learning, as are the sleep, circadian rhythms, and many others. And from the fields of neuroscience, begins to take shape the neuroeducación.
The neuroeducación demonstrates that emotion and knowledge go together
The neuroeducación is a new vision of education based in the brain. It is a vision that has been born under the protection of this cultural revolution that has come to be called neurocultura. The neuroeducación take advantage of the knowledge about how the brain works integrated with psychology, sociology and medicine, in an attempt to improve and enhance both learning and memory processes of the students, as the teaching by the teachers.
At the heart of this new concept is the emotion. This ingredient emotional is fundamental, both for the one who teaches to who learns. There is No process of teaching true if not held on that column in the emotion, in its infinite perspectives.
Neuroscience teaches us today that the duality of emotion-cognition is indissoluble, intrinsic to the anatomical design and function of the brain. This design, carved out over many millions of years of evolutionary process, indicates that all sensory information, before being processed by the cerebral cortex in its association areas (mental processes, cognitive), passes through thelimbic system or emotional brain, where it acquires a stain, a colorful, emotional. And later, in those areas of partnership, where, in neural networks is distributed, to create the abstract, the ideas, the basic elements of thought.
So that the cognitive processing, which creates thought, as is done with those basic elements (the abstract) that have a meaning, of pleasure or pain, good or bad. Hence the intrinsic of emotion in all rational process, which implies learning and memorizing.
Human beings are not rational beings to dry, but rather, beings are first emotional and then rational. And, well, social. The human nature is based on an inheritance written in the codes of our deep brain, and that pervades everything, including our personal and social lives everyday and, as I pointed out, our thoughts and reasoning. This reality must be put today on top of any round-table discussion on the education of the human being.
It is this reality that leads us to understand that an emotional approach is nuclear to learn and memorize, and, since then, to teach. And leads us to understand that the best learning is that which loves, that which tells you something, that that, somehow, resonates and is consonant (that is to say, vibrate on the same frequency) and so emotionally on the inside.When such a thing happens, especially in the awakening of learning in the children, their eyes shine, shine, fill with joy, of sense, and that pushes them to learn.
The only one that learns well survive longer and better. Continue to live in a world demanding (and the world I live what it is), from living in the jungle to live in a social world hard and competitive, requires learning, and learning well. The one who is not able to learn tend to live less, we have already pointed out. And learning requires inexcusably based on the emotion.
But that emotion in teaching requires deep hues when applied to the human being throughout its arc vital. Learn (and therefore teach) is not the same for a child of 2 or 3 years, which, with teachings already regulated, to the child of 6 years old (when they start with the drum of the ideas in the Primary), pubescent or teenager (who lives in a world cerebral convulsive where the hague), or the young adult, middle adult, or the one crossing the now long-senescence. Today you would have to add the prenatal period and perinatal (the one that goes from week prenatal 32 up to 2 months postnatal). Today the neuroeducación reaches across that broad and, in the field of education, almost unknown arc vital to the human being.
With all the above, it is clear, as I have already pointed out, that ignites learning is the emotion and, in it, the curiosity and, then, the attention. But the attention can not raise simply demandándola, or curiosity, either. There is that evocarlas from the inside of the learner.
Today we begin to know that what we call curiosity is not a brain phenomenon singular, but that there are neural circuits that are different forcuriosities different,and that is not the same the curiosity perceptual diversified, that which awakens so common throughout the world when they see something strange and new, that the other known as curiosity espistémica, that is the one that leads to the specific search of knowledge.
And the same can be said about the attention, which substrate the brain leads us today to recognize the existence of many attentions in the brain. Care ranging from care basic tonic, which is that we all have when we are awake, to those other of alert, focus need (to a danger), indicative (look for a face among hundreds), executive (the study), virtual(creative processes), or digital (used in internet).
And it is clear, moreover, that all these processes differ in the child and adult, and even in the child for each age. Clearly the time attention required by the child is not the same as that required by the adult to attend to a precise perception simple or learn an abstract concept highly complex. Precisely, to know the times of the brain that are needed to maintain the attention to each age or period of life can help you adjust the times care real during the learning in class in an efficient manner. Andalso to know how these times can be modified.
And the same thing that the learning consists of times series of associations of phenomena or concepts that are repeated in the mental game of trials and errors, to memorize also requires constant repetition of what has already been learned. The teacher or the college professor today begin to properly use formulas that can be enormously helpful in the memorization of what you learned.
Neuroeducación reaches well to the whole arc of the teaching, since the children in the early years to college students, or in the teaching of vocational or enterprise. And, of course, also to the teachers and the professors, about the most efficient way to teach. The neuroeducación begins to put into perspective, beyond the processes of the brain referred to as the curiosity and the attention, other factors such as the social background of the family and one’s own culture as determinants of learning.
And, beyond that, the neuroeducación attempt to destroy the neuromitos (falseknowledge drawn from neuroscience) and to know the influence of circadian rhythms, sleep and its powerful influence on the study, or important factors such as the architecture of the school, the noise, the light, the temperature, the colors of the walls or the orientation of the classroom.
And it also helps to ask yourself questions like these: why children are always asking?How can you teach children who have grown up in cultures and of different ethnicities? Do you have to be of the jewish race to be academically bright? Why is the family atmosphere of study is just as important in the capacity to learn from the children? Can you memorize better sleeping better? What makes you learn and memorize better if one is wrong more? Why is it more interesting a question bright as a reply brilliant? Why is today the letter with blood no longer enters? Is it the same to teach art or math, or medicine, or law, plumbing or philosophy? How can one teach that there are two ways brain learn mathematics? Will the new computers of high processing (relationship and personal recognition of the student) substitute the relation teacher-student?
In this way, and by this way, the neuroeducación delves into theknowledge of those basic foundations of how to learn and memorize, and how to teach. And how to do it better, in the whole of acquisition of knowledge and the many ingredients that constitute it. Assessing as well the ins and outs of the individuality and the complex social functions, mental performance, the challenge of the brain of the Internet and social networks, or how to become a teacher or an outstanding teacher. Adding to this the formation of the critical thinking and analytical, and, beyond, creative thinking. Or assessing in the early years to children suffering from brain processes or psychological conditions that hinder the normal learning process, thus allowing to apply treatments early very effective.
The neuroeducación is, therefore, a field of the neurosciences, new, open, full of enormous possibilities that must eventually provide useful tools that will help them learn and teach better, and to reach a better understanding in a world that is increasingly more draft abstract and symbolic and greater social complexity.
To facilitate all of this would require the creation of a new type of professional, that of the neuroeducador.
Teachers will improve with the help of the neuroeducadores
Today it is not reasonable doubts of objective about the progress of neuroscience, which allow in-depth analysis of the components of the brain and behavioral education referred to in the two preceding articles, and which are the excitement, the curiosity, attention, and cognition. Get to know them well will help to teach and learn better. However, especially among the teachers, there are numerous voices that considered scarce progress for all of this can be applied in a systematic way and take the opportunity to do things better in schools and colleges. And is that the teachers need help.
Recognizing that there is a long way between knowledge that brings current neuroscience and its direct application in the classroom, there are scientists who consider it premature to try to fill that stretch, while others, on the contrary, think that now, precisely now, is the best time to do it. In any case, in what seems to be a large consensus is in the need, increasingly more urgent, of putting together neuroscience and education.
Until very recently, theories about how to learn were based, for the most part, on observations of the conduct. And it is only now when educators have begun to take seriously the central role of the brain in these learning processes.
Teachers are faced with the need to find new techniques, able to raise, from within and in a natural way, without demands, the care of a child normal in the face of what is explained to him, or give the class a specific subject in the time brain that a child of a certain age, you need to keep the attention. And also to be able to detect various types of disorders and subtle symptoms that affect the normal process of education and learning.
The teachers are very aware of their limitations to discover the best way to teach gifted children, the best way to find ways that will stimulate and awaken your interest, the best way to increase your mental performance without that arouse antipathies around, making them feel good and develop executive talent capable of making them improve even more when they are older, in the professional environment and social.
Teachers need to find a way to make coherent all of that with the individuality of each child, always different from the others. Well, all of this should come, thanks to our best knowledge about how the brain works, that is to say, thanks to neuroscience.
But the majority of the educators are far from understanding the jargon of neuroscientists and, in consequence, does not usually capture with precision the essence of what can be gleaned from this new knowledge. Thus, he has spoken of the need for the transmission of knowledge from the scientist to the teacher of any discipline (whether college or professional, but out of Neuroscience), is assumed by professionals, intermediate, being well acquainted with neuroscience, be able to transmit this knowledge.
Thus arises the figure of a new professional that could be called neuroeducador. It would be a person trained with an interdisciplinary perspective, able to make bridge between the knowledge of the brain and the practical functioning of the processes of teaching and learning by teachers, facilitating the latter to the understanding of advances in neuroscience that is directly applicable to the classroom.
In the particular case of the college or institute, the neuroeducador addition, it would be a figure complementary to the teacher’s ability to help teachers to detect which children have certain deficits, although they were very subtle, to read, write, or learn math (dislexias, discalculias, autism, anxiety…), but also with a formation that would allow him to detect higher capacities, extraordinary or selective, sometimes almost invisible.
In this context, the neuroeducador would also be one specialist, able to read and criticize properly the basic knowledge from the fields of neuroscience, and thus to evaluate and criticize the programs (so many and so often full of mistakes and neuroscientists) who, frequently, are offered to the centres by promising false benefits of the application of neuroscience in the classroom.
The neuroeducador should be someone who understood well not only the daily routine of teaching, but also being able to create or help others createnew programs or research on how to improve teaching in the classroom based on the practice.
This would require a formation that is very special, which includes expertise ineducation, psychology, neuropsychology, neurology, and medicine. The neuroeducador in the future, and for its social impact, and particularly in schools, could well be a profession of high significance. A profession that will require constant training and up-to-date knowledge, which is reached in the neurosciences, and is projected on the education. Are specialized skills that now look out of accelerated mode in modern societies.
Right now it is already becoming a convergence of discoveries in psychology, neuroscience, and robotics (robots with ability to learn), which leads to the idea that soon will occur deep changes in the educational theories current that will illuminate new designs applicable to the environment in which children learn.
One of them is the powerful influence of everything social as a key to good learning. Many experts are wondering what makes interaction social, emotional, at a very early age to be a catalyst as powerful for learning? What social factors are the key elements that could be used to enhance the natural curiosity of children towards people and things around you?
It would not be difficult to devise the courses required for this specialization, in the form of a diploma, or perhaps in the future, in the form of degree of neuroeducador.
Brief review on Francisco Mora
Francisco Mora is doctor of Medicine from the University of Granada and a phd in Neuroscience from the University of Oxford (England). Is professor of Human Physiology of the Faculty of Medicine of the Complutense University of Madrid and a professor Attached to the Department of Molecular Physiology and Biophysics from the University of Iowa in the U.S. it Is a member of the Wolfson College of the University of Oxford. Apart from Neuroeducación: you can only learn that which one loves, among his most recent books are: how You can delay the aging brain? (2010), The God of Each One: why neuroscience denies the existence of a universal god (2011), what Is our brain designed for happiness? (2012).